International Day of the Girl Child is a day declared by the United Nations. It recognizes the unique challenges that girls face around the world and the hard work being done to help bring about change. When it comes to girls empowerment, there are many excellent organizations out there in the world that are all about serving women and girls in various issues. So, what is The Angaza Project’s part in it all? That is easy! We joined them and turned up the volume! The Angaza Project has the same heart as so many other organizations for making a difference so we joined in on the work of empowering girls (and women) around the world! By joining in, we raised the volume of the overall voice working toward economic and educational equality for girls and women. The more that join in on making a difference, we become louder, we can cover more ground, and it means more women and girls that are engaged worldwide. This is never the work of one organization or voice, but many!
Unfortunately, there is more than enough work to go around or to be done and the challenges that girls face are great! According to USAID (2015),” 1 in 7 girls is married before her 15th birthday, and approximately 16 million girls between the ages of 15-19 give birth each year. While women make up more than 40% of the agriculture labor force only 3% - 20% are landholders. In Africa, women-owned enterprises make up as little as 10% of all businesses. And despite representing half the global population, women compromise less than 20% of the world's legislators.” That is not all! About 130 million girls, worldwide, are still out of school (UNESCO, 2017). There are a variety of reasons as to why which may include child labour, early marriage, conflict, costs, gender bias, health, natural disasters, and overall poor quality (Malala Fund, 2019).
Girls’ education strengthens economies and creates jobs- more educated girls means more working women (Malala Fund, 2019). In Kibera, Kenya, we offer a Shining Scholar Sponsorship program that focuses on secondary education for girls. The high school fee is covered for the Shining Scholar through this program of caring Sponsors. While our hearts wish we could serve every girl in Kibera, Kenya, we work closely with the High School to determine the girls who are at the greatest risk of being removed from school due to a lack of fee then meet the family to get permission to sponsor her school fees.
Meet Priscar | Priscar sat in class worrying about the school fees she knew were (over) due, thinking that it could be any day that she would be called to speak to the Administration office. It is well known that even though the schools offer flexibility and care, when arrears get too high, there becomes a point when the student is asked to not return until the balance is near cleared. For many, they never return after this. One afternoon, our Girls Empowerment Teacher Michelle stopped by this school and met with the Principal and asked how many girls were at the greatest risk of being asked to leave school over fees. The Principal gave her a list, even allowed Michelle to meet with them at school. Priscar was one of them! Over the next few days, Michelle helped the families of these girls to complete the Shining Scholar Sponsorship Application and submitted them to our Board. It is a process when we receive an application to verify the student status, attendance, previous grades, and fees/payment history and the family. The High Schools with which we work are so wonderful in sharing the records so we can move as quickly as possible to connect the final piece of the puzzle…. YOU!
Priscar was soon connected to her sponsor Cheryl! We asked Priscar to reflect back on that day and she said this- “When Michelle came to the school to tell me I was chosen as a Scholar and Cheryl is her name, it was the best thing. I am going to make it in life and I see myself actually completing High School. I won’t sit in class and worry. I will work hard.”
- "Here in the United States, our education slogan is "Knowledge is Power." That statement is true for every boy & every girl, around the world. That is why our family sponsors girls of The Angaza Project. " - Cheryl
As part of our Shining Scholars Sponsorship program, we also issue sanitary pads each month to the Scholars in our program. Having appropriate materials during menstruation was something we continued to hear about from the girls as a major challenge so it is included in our program. You can check out the story about the challenge of menstruation in Kibera here: https://www.theangazaproject.org/single-post/2019/04/02/Untitled
Your support has also made it possible to offer skills classes to young women and host a Girls Empowerment on Saturdays in Kibera. An additional 25 girls receive pads, learn about assertiveness, self-worth, creating healthy boundaries, and leadership skills. After class, we provide a light meal to give the girls a space and a time to further build relationships with each other.
Thank you for your partnership in empowering girls around the world! It really does make a difference!
Malala Fund. (2019). Girls education. Retrieved from https://www.malala.org/girls-education.
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (June, 2017). Reducing global poverty through universal primary and secondary education. Retrieved from https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000250392.
USAID. (2015). Ending child marriage. Retrieved from https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2155/Child_Marriage_Vision_Factsheet.pdf