Girls Education International

The mission of Girls Education International is to expand and support educational opportunities for underserved females in remote and developing regions of the world. We work with existing non-governmental and nonprofit organizations in the regions we serve. These local organizations already have relationships and infrastructures in the rural communities where we work that allow us to build upon and maximize existing resources.
Dec 20, 2014

Ending 2014 on a High Note!

Hindu gets her diploma
Hindu gets her diploma

Season's Greetings Project Wezesha Supporters!

As we round the bend in 2014 (that was fast!), we are celebrating here at Project Wezesha because this has been a great year of success stories for us!

Hindu and Khadija

In our November update, we shared the great news that our students, Hindu and Khadija were graduating from their programs at the Vocational Education Training Authority. Well, they did and we are so happy for them (check out their graduation pics)! Project Wezesha supported them through 4 year of secondary school and 2 years of vocational training, and now, they are leaving our scholarship program. What the future holds is yet to be determined, but you better believe we'll be close by to see what's next for these determined, bright young women! Thanks for your part in their success.

Dibeit, Saidi, and Tumsifu

In 2011, three amazing young men - Dibeit, Saidi, and Tumsifu - began their studies as Form 1 students in secondary school, with the help of Project Wezesha. Now, join me in congratulating them on their graduation! Their ceremonies were held in November!

Dibeit: Due to his excellent performance on the secondary school entrance exams, Dibeit was selected by the government to study in Dodoma, Tanzania at a boarding school. He studied hard and stayed focused, even though he was half way across the country from his family. He remained among the top of his class throughout these four years.

Saidi: Saidi began his studies in Kiganza village, but at the insistence of his father (for the betterment of his education) we brought him into Kigoma town and paid half of his school fees for a private secondary school - his father paid the other half. He believed in Saidi so much that it was worth investing his small income to give Saidi the best shot possible at a better life. Both of his parents spend most of the year very far from their home village, living at the farm. Saidi and his siblings live with their grandparents most of the time. While studying in town for the past 3 years, Saidi has been living with Lucas. Saidi has made his whole family proud and the future impact of his education on all of them will be a great story to share!! Lucas attended Saidi's graduation and captured some great shots of the ceremony and his proud family!

Tumsifu: Tumsifu began his studies in Kagongo village, but like Saidi, it was important that he move to a secondary school that could really tap into his potential. At Mlore Secondary School, he thrived and held a spot at the top of his class. He has been dedicated to his studies and has high hopes for his future. He wishes to continue his studies through high school and into university with the ultimate aspiration of becoming either a doctor or an engineer.

The Cycle of Education - Our Graduates return as Teachers

Since graduation, these three young men have returned home to their villages (Kiganza and Kagongo). But, eager to keep their brains working and stay connected to their studies, they have volunteered to help us fill a big gap in our program - tutoring our current students. All of our students put two things on the top of their 'wish list' when we discuss what would help them succeed in secondary school: 1) textbooks and 2) after school tutoring.

Textbooks are expensive and most students don't have them. They take notes from the board, written by the teacher, who has the only text in the room (and often limited English language proficiency). This is their only resource from which to study later - and sometimes, the notes don't make sense when they read them later. So far, Project Wezesha has only been able to keep up with school fees; textbooks have been just out of our financial reach.

Providing after school tutoring has also been a challenge for us. Finding a qualified teacher who is willing and able to offer after school study sessions for our students wasn't as easy as we thought. Most teachers charge per subject and per student, again pushing it just out of our reach.

Well - problem solved! Dibeit, Saidi, and Tumsifu are now earning a monthly stipend from Project Wezesha to offer supplemental study sessions to our Form 1 and Form 2 students on the topics that are most challenging for them: math, chemistry, biology, physics, civics ... and taught in English! They teach groups of students at a time. The income they are receiving is more than their families have been bringing in from subsistence farming and fishing - and, it doesn't depend on the weather! Rain, Shine, or Drought - there are students to teach! When the time comes for them to leave for high school, we'll see which of our next graduates can step in to help out!

Is it Worth It? We Think So!

Lucas had a focus group interview with our students this month to see if, after one month, the investment is worthwhile. He asked the students if the support they were receiving was useful and accessible. They unanimously reported that it was great. They said that Saidi, Dibeit and Tumsifu were clarifying things so much! They hailed their teaching abilities and said that they would continue to be lost if not for these young teachers. Bravo! Bravo!

Thank you to everyone who has supported us along the way so that we can support the students! They literally are the future and as we invest in them, we invest in a better world!

As the end of the year approaches (rapidly) and you consider last minute recipients for your end of year giving, please do keep us in mind. Project Wezesha is a very small scale nonprofit operating with almost no overhead. Your contribution to our scholarship fund goes directly to Kigoma where Lucas distributes the money to pay school fees, pay our new tutors' stipends, and take his salary. In other words, it's all invested in education! We hope that with these recent graduations, we will be able to add more students to our scholarship program, but we need your help to make that happen.

If you are still looking for last minute gifts, give the gift of education. You can make a donation to Project Wezesha in honor of a loved one. You can choose to send them an e-card or print a card at home to mail.

If you have a little extra motivation, you can even build your own online fundraiser and grow a larger donation through an event, such as a holiday party! On the project page, just click the green fundraiser button under the Donate button - then get creative with your page!

We (Lucas and Rai) are indebted to all of our supporters for helping us make this happen. The two of us are simply the instruments of your kindness.

Happy Holidays and much love, joy, and peace in the New Year!

Sincerely,

Rai Farrelly and Lucas Lameck
Co-founders, Project Wezesha

Khadija - Congrats from Baba (former chief)
Khadija - Congrats from Baba (former chief)
Graduation Dance - Saidi Smiling in the Middle
Graduation Dance - Saidi Smiling in the Middle
Tumsifu teaching a captive audience
Tumsifu teaching a captive audience
Dibeit making things clear
Dibeit making things clear
Saidi monitoring student work
Saidi monitoring student work
Dec 15, 2014

Educating 100 Girls_Girls Ed Project Update

Girls Ed and Bedari Launch New Program
Girls Ed and Bedari Launch New Program

Dear Girls Education International Supporters,

First of all - Happy Holidays and very best wishes for the New Year!!

We would like to share some updates about our scholarship programs in Liberia, Pakistan and Tanzania.

In Liberia, a country devastated by the deadly Ebola outbreak, schools have closed until February. We can fortunately report that all of the girls in our program, and their families are healthy. Our in country partner, Liberia Now has been working tirelessly to make sure all the students and their families have home sanitation kits as well as access to medical clinics to ensure they are well.

A concern in Liberia is that the outbreak, and consequent disruption in schooling, may result in decreased opportunities for girls' education. Girls in Liberia have always been challenged when it comes to getting an education - for various reasons, including traditional expectations about the role of girls in the family and community. We feel confident that Liberia Now will ensure that the girls in our program are supported in making the transition back to school when it opens again in the new year. Sometimes, it just takes a little extra encouragement to keep working toward one's dreams!

In Tanzania, our first group of girls has finished their first year of secondary school. They faced many challenges in their transition from primary to secondary school. In the first place, they are now studying primarily in the English langauge, for which many of them were not prepared. In addition, the number of girls in secondary school, as compared with primary school, is reduced. However, when we met with them in August to find out how they were experiencing secondary school, they were all smiles! They said that while it's difficult for them, they are grateful for the opportunity and they know what a difference this education will make in their lives, and those of their loved ones.

In Pakistan, we recently celebrated the move to sustainability for girls' education in the first villages with which we have been working. In partnership with Bedari, we have been supporting girls in school for 5 years. We committed to do so until the families in the villages viewed girls' education as a priority - and they have. Inspired by the girls in our program, other girls began to attend school with their families' support.

Now, the families of all the girls in school have taken on the responsibility for their education, independent of external assistance. This was always the goal and we reached it! Happily, Girls Education International and Bedari have moved into 4 new villages - Maria, Thirchak, Chakki Rangpur, and Dharyala Kahoon - where we are supporting a new cohort of 60 girls!

Thank you for all of your support thus far! Without you, none of this would be possible or sustainable.

We would love your continued support. Here are some ideas for how you can help our pograms thrive:

  1. You can share this report with the buttons below. Social Media is one of the biggest agents of change in the world today, so let's put it to good use. Sharing is caring!
  2. You can create your own online fundraiser! Just select the green fundraiser button on our project page (scroll down below the second orange donate button). You can personalize it to go along with an event (e.g., wedding, holiday party, birthday) and invite your friends to give the gift of education.
  3. And of course, you can simply donate. As the new year approaches, we hope that you will consider Girls Education International projects when planning your end of year giving! Our projects are small and therefore, you can be sure that your contribution goes right to the students in Liberia, Tanzania and Pakistan. 

Sincerely,

The Girls Education Team

Rai and the Girls in Tanzania
Rai and the Girls in Tanzania
Nov 26, 2014

Ebola and Girls Ed Liberian Scholarship Girls

Dear Girls Ed Liberia Project Donors and Supporters,

As you know, the deadly outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is centered in three countries: Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Fortunately, the spread of Ebola in Liberia seems to be slowing and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced recently that "we want to have zero cases by Christmas." While Ebola could certainly flare up again at any time, this is good news for a country that has been hard hit by the epidemic.

But the best news for all of us? The Girls Ed students in Liberia and their families are all healthy! Our in-country partner Liberia Now has been instrumental in distributing home sanitation kits, re-opening their medical clinic and keeping tabs on our girls, and we can't thank them enough for jumping in to help curb the epidemic. 

In an effort to keep Ebola from spreading, Liberian schools have been closed since July and will not be re-opened until at least February 2015. This means every single child's education has come to a standstill. Liberia's educational system was just recovering from years of civil war, and literacy rates there are already low.

There is a concern that the longer Liberian schools stay closed, the more students will drop out. Teenaged girls, who often take over for mothers who are ill or have died, are most at risk of never resuming their education. (See the attached article for more information). Our hope is that if we continue to support our girls' education, they will be able to come back when schools re-open.

With the holiday season upon us, we ask you to consider a gift to the GEI Liberia project. With your generous support, our educated girls will make a much bigger contribution to their country's recovery from Ebola's devastation.

With Gratitude,

Mary Ann

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