Around the world, girls continue to face troubling barriers. Yet, we know that with educational, legal, medical, and social support, those barriers are surmountable and another world is possible. That’s why GlobalGiving created the Girl Fund.
From Africa to India to Central America, these organizations are helping girls reach their full and brilliant potential. Say hello to the GlobalGiving 2019 Girl Fund winners! They’re:
1. Helping girls explore science, technology, engineering, and math.
Timeout for Africa is led by husband-wife duo Jonathan and Yovonda Kolo. They founded the organization to enrich the African childhood experience through education and sports. The Girl Fund will support their STEM camp for girls in Minna, a city in west-central Nigeria. “Basic school materials and equipment like desks and chairs and science and technology supplies are often missing from the class environment,” Jonathan explained. With support from the Girl Fund, girls in the camp will not only have access to basic supplies, they’ll be able to explore science, technology, engineering, and math with discovery kits, laptops, lego blocks, and more. Learn more.
2. Making space for girls to discover their independence.
Polycom Development was founded in 2005 in Kibera, a slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Its mission is to empower women and girls from Kibera to take charge of their futures. “Girls in many situations have no one to give them hope, and they keep all these frustrations to themselves,” explained Jane Anyango, a Polycom project leader. With support from the Girl Fund, Jane hopes to help 1,000 girls from Kibera graduate from high school. She and her team will provide a range of resources, from scholarships to sanitary napkins, to help girls confront the challenges that threaten their education and wellbeing. Learn more.
3. Dispelling taboos, myths, and misconceptions about periods.
Social taboos, myths, and misconceptions about periods are still strong in parts of India. International Association for Human Values is combating the negative misconceptions around women’s menstruation and health in rural areas of the country. The Human Values team has quickly grown to operate in 24 states across India. In one year, they trained 1,490 volunteers who in turn provided menstrual educational services to 19,500 girls. With support from the Girl Fund, their reach will continue to grow. Learn more.
4. Ending child marriage through higher education.
“Shadhika” means “a girl with aspirations” in Bengali. It’s a fitting name for a powerful initiative. With support from the Girl Fund, the Shadhika Project will cover all the costs associated with college—including tuition, books, transportation, nutritious meals, and housing—for at-risk girls in India. Focusing on education allows girls to break the cycle of poverty, earn an income, and provide for their future families, according to Kim Burnett, Shadhika’s project leader. “In the long run, we hope to challenge the rigid cultural norms that promote gender discrimination and child marriage in India,” she explained. Learn more.
5. Combating violence against girls with disabilities.
Rebecca Trujillo and Marlena Hernandez lead Special Families Saint Billiart, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of children with disabilities in Nicaragua. As they evaluated their programs, they realized that boys were twice as likely to participate than girls, yet girls were disproportionately at risk of sexual abuse and violence. With support from the Girl Fund, they’ll be able to deliver a new program called Magical Shoes. The program will provide education, health, parenting, recreation, and violence prevention services to 25 Nicaraguan girls and their mothers. “We want mothers to see their daughters as human beings not as a handicap,” Rebecca said. Learn more.
6. Hosting girl-led clubs to reduce sexual exploitation.
Girls in rural Ghana want to stay in school, but it’s not easy. It’s a struggle to afford school supplies, let alone sanitary supplies. Without supplies, they miss a few days of school each month. Their grades drop. Many girls never receive any sex education, and they suffer sexual exploitation and high teen pregnancy rates. Self Help International hosts Teen Girls Clubs in three Ghanaian villages—and club members’ junior high and high school graduation rates have improved. Women volunteers from the community lead the clubs and girls set their club’s learning agendas. With help from the Girl Fund, the clubs will expand to new communities. Learn more.