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.
Apr 9, 2014

Project Wezesha Scholarship Program Update

Saidi
Saidi

Greetings Project Wezesha Supporters!

We hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the start of a new season! I know in Tanzania, everyone is very excited about the coming end to a long rainy season ... ah, but of course - the water and vibrant green of the landscape during this season is so refreshing!

In Tanzania, our students actually start their school year in January (not August or September as in many parts of the world). So, they are in the early stages of a new school year. Nonetheless, the year is off to a race for some of them - namely Saidi, Dibeit and Tumsifu who are currently in Form 4. This means that these three very bright young men are rounding the bend in their secondary school experience.

They will take two mock exams this year and then in October, they will take the high stakes final exams to see if they qualify for entrance into high school (and we know they will!). At that point, we'll have some big decisions to make and we hope you'll join us in making them.

Thus far, our scholarship program has paid for secondary school fees for over 30 students. Some have completed secondary school and returned to their communities to plan 'next steps'. A few of them have moved on to the Vocational Education and Training Authority (VETA) to specialize in particular occupations - namely, computer science (updates on them coming soon). Tumsifu, Dibeit, and Saidi will be our first students to qualify for high school (and again, we're sure they will!). Once they do, Project Wezesha will seek your support to see if we can manage the much higher tuition fees of high school (Form 5 and 6) education, which is required before a student can go to University.

Here's a quick refresher on Tumsifu, Saidi and Dibeit:

Tumsifu is a Form 4 student. He started at Kagongo Secondary School, then we moved him to a better government school with boarding facilities - so he could truly focus and dive into his studies. His grades have remained stellar and he is at the top of his class. His dream - to become either a doctor or engineer.

Saidi was one of our very first friends. I met him in 2008 and we began supporting him when he entered secondary school in 2011. Finally, he is coming to the end of his secondary school experience. Two years ago, he moved in with Lucas so that he could attend a better school in Kigoma town. That change, initiated by his father, has been instrumental in turning Saidi's life around. His grades have remained high, his English continues to improve and his dreams are in sight! Saidi hopes to be a teacher and he will be a great one!

We also met Dibeit in 2008. Dibeit and Saidi were the best of friends - always together, always eager to join us under the gazebo for English conversation time. Dibeit finished primary school with top honors and the government chose him to attend a private secondary school in Dodoma, Tanzania. He has grown so much in the past four years, even having the chance to visit the capital numerous times to visit family. His grades remain high, his smile big, and his spirit pure.

Please join us in wishing these boys luck as they prepare for these very important exams! When I visit this summer, I'll take all your well wishes and deliver them in person! In return, get ready for some great 'mug shots' and reports from all of our lovely students!

Asante Sana,

Rai Farrelly & Lucas Lameck
co-founders, Project Wezesha

Tumsifu
Tumsifu
Dibeit, Rai, Lucas, Saidi and friends - Tanganyika
Dibeit, Rai, Lucas, Saidi and friends - Tanganyika
Mar 19, 2014

March 2014 Update from Girls Ed - Liberia

 

 

What a wonderful month to celebrate the young girls who will grow into the fine women of Liberia! (In some countries, International 'Day' of the Woman (March 8th) spans the entire month of March. We think that's pretty cool.)

The country of Liberia has endured both joy and great sorrow in its history. In 1824, Liberia (the free land) was established and the majority of the newly arrived inhabitants were recently freed slaves coming from the US. Over time, Liberia saw many ups and downs, endured many conflicts and ultimately suffered the devastation of a horrible civil war that lasted from 1989 until 2003. During this civil war, an entire generation lost their right to live like normal people. They simply had no choice.

The manager of our in-country partner organization, Liberia Now, Pastor Emmanuel Gyamfi, recounted his memory of that time. "In 1989 the Liberian Civil War began. We thought that it wasn’t going to last long. We thought it would end soon. But we were very wrong. The war lasted longer than any of us thought possible. During this time we were robbed of everything we ever had, in terms of our “material possessions”. As the war became more terrifying, living in our community was no longer safe so we had to leave. I saw friends die. Anyone could die at any moment. Even dogs had more value than humans at that time. I had never experienced something so terrible."

Tragically, a 2005 study found that girls were entering the sex trade in order to pay for their education. In the report by IRIN African, one school's headmaster said, "This is very strange in our school system. Since their lovers or boyfriends pay their fees, they are under an... obligation to stay with that boyfriend or lover at night which may divert their attention from reviewing their lessons." (see article here)

In the same study, it is reported that the organization Save the Children notes that school fees are the number one barrier that girls face when seeking education. That's where you and Girls Ed step in to make the biggest difference in a girl's life - helping her gain access to education.

But Liberia is full of surprises and wonder. In a country so devastated by war and hatred, a woman - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - was elected president in 2005. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, along with Leymah Gbowee for their non-violent struggle to ensure the rights of women in the peace-building process in Liberia.

Ah, the magical powers of women. Which of our girls will grow up to be the strong leaders, the agents of change, the beacons of hope that guide Liberia into a brighter future!? Let's continue to suppor them and find out.

Thank you so much for your support thus far. Please continue to support us in our efforts because none of this can happen without you. Share our work with friends, bring us up in conversation, contribute any amount you can, and click the share buttons below to let others know how they can join us in this initiative.

Sincerely,

Rai Farrelly
Member, Board of Directors, Girls Ed

Mar 18, 2014

March 2014 Girls Ed Update - With Voices Loud

Dear Girls Ed Supporters,

How amazing are the women of the world! And how wonderful do you feel when you hear girls say 'with voices loud' - "This is my MOMENT!"

That's exactly what girls are saying around the world through the new Girl Declaration. Just watch this great video by The Girl Effect (an organization we love) - and hear the girls make their declaration.

In the Girl Declaration, girls from all over the world have come together to respond to one basic question:

What do you need to reach your full potential?

They responded with their voices and their wisdom. Their collective goals address education, health, safety, economic security and citizenship. We know these are all interwoven aspects of life - and we think education is central to each of them.

On the topic of Education, the girls say with voices loud:

I want to learn, be smart and capable; I need an education for that. My schooling needs to be good - it must be free, or else I struggle to attend, and it must be safe and nearby, or else I will stop going. (The Girl Declaration, p. 5, www.girleffect.org)

In Pakistan, the girls we support don't have the option to attend a school close to home. With your support, we are able to provide them safe transportation to the closest school that provides a quality education for girls in remote regions of Pakistan.

In Liberia and Tanzania, secondary school is not free. After primary school, there are fees that are often beyond the means of the families. With your support, we are able to ensure that girls can get a secondary education - we cover their basic school fees plus the additional costs associated with uniforms, supplies, exam fees and more.

It is exciting to be able to contribute to the success of women by supporting them when they are girls. Thank you for your part in that! Please consider making a contribution today as a testament to your support of the Girl Declaration. Please take a moment to share our work with friends in person and through social media. Tell others about the Girl Declaration - it stands for girls everywhere, even in your home town. And while you're at it, pat yourself on the back! Together, we make a difference!

Thank you so much!

Sincerely,

Rai Farrelly
Member, Board of Directors Girls Ed
Co-Founder, Project Wezesha
Assistant Professor, American U of Armenia

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