Azera, Risnata and Aminata are in their first year of primary school. All three are from subsistence-farming families in small villages in northern Burkina Faso. They were only able to enter school because of the support of the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Project. Recently, they shared with us their reactions to primary school. As is obvious in their expressions, they are still adapting to this new experience. Typical of most of these young village girls, adjustment to the learning environment and to the other children takes time. Azera, Risnata and Aminata all said that they feel like strangers in this new environment and they expressed anxiety and apprehension about asserting themselves or interacting with other children.
We are confident, however, that this is the starting point to a much brighter future. To see how past students supported by this project develop socially and succeed educationally as they progress through primary, middle and secondary school is truly amazing. The expressions on the faces of middle school girls supported by this project, and their results in national year-end exams, demonstrate the potential that these village girls have and what they can achieve, given the opportunity to go to school.
Academically, 84% of girls enrolled in primary school through the Lambs Support Girls’ Education Projecthave passed national exit exams at the end of primary school, qualifying them to continue on to middle school, compared with 64% of their peers in the region. These girls have continued to excel far beyond their peers in middle and secondary school and a number of them have qualified for scholarships for postsecondary education/training in primary school teaching, nursing, midwifery or a university education. All it took was an initial investment of $80 and the girls and their parents took it from there.
Such a successful girls’ education endeavor and such a simple concept. Raising awareness of the importance of girls’ education by providing modest encouragement has a great multiplier effect.
As this school year ends and we begin to prepare for next year, we seek to enable 150 young village girls to enter primary school next year. At $80 per child (for a full 13 years of education – a real bargain with this self-help strategy), this will require $12,000. Please help us give these girls the opportunity to start their educations and, in the long run, contribute to the future of their communities and nation.
We thank you for your support!!