Girls Education International is very proud to announce that all ten of our 12th grade girls graduated from high school this June! These girls face tremendous adversity and poverty and it is a joy to have supported their schooling over the past three years.
Girls Ed covered the costs for all ten of our 12th graders to take Liberian national exams this spring. Similar to college entrance exams in the U.S., these exams determine who is allowed to go on to college. National exams are very difficult and, unlike exams in U.S. middle and high schools, cover years of schoolwork.
Five of the girls passed their exams and are eligible to attend college. Unfortunately, Girls Ed does not have enough funds to send all these girls to college. We decided to establish a list of criteria to determine which girl had the greatest chance of success of completing college and chose just one girl to support. Her name is Veronica and she wants to go to nursing college in Monrovia. We anticipate her enrollment this coming week and will update you on her progress in future reports. Girls Ed will be paying her tuition costs, as well as books and supplies and a stipend. We have asked Veronica to agree to mentor the younger girls still in our scholarship program as one of the conditions of her stipend.
We are saddened that we cannot support all five girls in continuing their education into college. If you are interested in helping to support one of the other girls to attend college, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Girls Ed is continuing to support the remaining 37 girls who remain in middle and high school. Our youngest girl, Jenny, began our program in the 4th grade and was just promoted to 7th grade!
On behalf of the girls and the Girls Education International Board of Directors, I thank you for your support of this program. Your donation is truly changing lives!
Dear Girls Education International supporters,
We just received a project update from our Common Ground Society program manager, our partner NGO in Liberia:
"All 47 girls in the Girls Education Liberia program took took their national exams for grades 6, 9 and 12 this spring. The results for the 12th Graders will be received in early June. Once the results are posted, the graduation date will be announced for all that passed the exam. We are hopeful that all 10 of our 12th graders will pass and graduate. We will be invited to the graduation program and are planning on taking video and photos to share with you. We are also hoping to spend some time with the girls and their families at that time. Similar to graduation traditions in the United States, in Liberia there is a graduation ceremony where the graduates wear a ceremonial gown, march across stage, and get their diplomas/certificates. "
I cannot tell you how gratifying it will be to have this oldest group of girls, whom we have been supporting since 2008, graduate from high school. National exams are very difficult and, unlike exams in U.S. middle and high schools, cover years of schoolwork. These girls face tremendous adversity and poverty and it is a joy to have supported their schooling over the years.
Dear Girls Education International supporters,
Thank you for helping to give 47 girls in Bong and Margibi Counties, Liberia, a year of schooling!
Fundraising for this project has been slow so far, and we have had to pull funds from our general operating fund to make our first 2011 payment to our partner agency, Common Ground Society, this month.
Girls Ed has been funding education for these girls since 2008, and Common Ground Society reports that all 47 girls have remained enrolled in school and that a group of 10 high school seniors (who were sophomores when we started the scholarship program) will be graduating this spring. We are honored to be a part of these bright girls' lives!
In his end of year report to Girls Education International, Marvin Garbeh Davis, our project officer with Common Ground Society, described conditions in Liberia with regard to educating girls: "In Liberia there are many social, cultural and economic barriers to girls’ schooling, both for enrolling and staying in school. Parents see limited economic benefits to educating girls. Daughters attending school are less available to help with household chores and childcare for younger siblings. Cultural norms are that sons support parents in old age while girls marry out and leave their parents.
The issue of poverty is a major hindrance. Schooling usually involves substantial sums for fees, books, uniforms and transportation. When family resources are limited, parents usually give higher priority to sons. Decisions about schooling for girls are often influenced by social norms related to sexuality and marriage. In traditional societies where chastity is highly valued, parents may be reluctant to allow girls to travel to school and be taught by male teachers. "
Marvin's report reminds me of why we believe that Girls Ed has a unique program service model with great potential for success - we partner with local organizations that already work in the regions we serve. These local organizations already have relationships and infrastructure in the rural communities that allow us to maximize existing resources through strategic partnerships, while respecting existing culture and values. They understand the culture/politics and have staff available to mitigate any unforeseen challenges.
Thank you so much for continuing to provide support to our girls in Liberia and giving them this opportunity to continue their education!
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Co-Founder, Project Wezesha; Treasurer, Girls Education International