It has been my honor to spend October of this year in Malawi. What I encountered there was a remarkable group of vivacious and passionate young women and a program staff who cares deeply about their wellbeing. It is clear to me that the power of our program rests not only in the financial support we provide to our students, but in the emotional care our staff gives to each of them.
As time goes on I am increasingly overwhelmed at how, by virtue of being born American, I have been able to access the best education in the world. To get where I am today I did not rise at 2am for study time (as our students often do). I did not have to pay for high school, exams, or share textbooks. I did not worry about doing my homework without electricity or on an empty stomach. But perhaps most importantly, there was never once a doubt in my mind that I would one day go to college (if I so chose). In Malawi, not so.
At one of the best boarding schools the country our students struggle with insufficient books in the library, chalk for the boards, and only one teacher in classrooms with over 50 students. They often learn physics, chemistry & biology without test tubes, microscopes, or running water in their labs. And yet they learn. Competing for just a handful of spaces in Malawi’s only University, our students, their families, and most Malawians I have met, value education above all else.
Unlike other programs, our scholarships ensure that our students are fed, clothed, and supplied with the basic items they need to thrive in the classroom, STAY IN SCHOOL, and return to school after each vacation. We provide emotional support and resources to them and their families when in crisis. We empower them with knowledge about their own health, their opportunities post-graduation, and how to utilize their education in practical ways back at home in the village. The AGE Africa difference is more than just the simple outcome of a student’s name written on a degree certificate. We are committed to changing lives one by one.
Please join me again this year in making a gift to this extraordinary agency and giving other young women the opportunities that we only took for granted.
Zabwino Zonse (All Good Things),
Aubryn Allyn Sidle
As we near the end of our 5th year of providing educational opportunities to talented young women in Malawi we thank you for your support in what has been an extraordinary journey for us as an organization. In 2010, AGE embarked on an exciting experiment to provide vital extracurricular programming to our students. In Malawi, basic information about qualifying for University, enrolling in vocational training, and where to go to pick up registration forms, etc. is simply not available to the majority of graduating high school students.
Because of your support, 140 students from regional community day schools have attended AGE’s ‘Girl Shower’ weekend retreats that provide sexual and reproductive health education & self-advocacy training to young women at a pivotal time in their development. Additionally, our 21 scholars received comprehensive career guidance counseling, and 13 of them have finished their 4th and final year! Thanks to all of you for believing in the power of education to transform lives!
“I have learned that girls have the right to an education and to express their views.”
–Girl Shower Participant, August 2010
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