Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal

by Women's Global Education Project
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
Educate girls and fight poverty in Senegal
High School Students at WGEP's Leadership Retreat
High School Students at WGEP's Leadership Retreat

Women’s Global Education Project’s Our Sisters Lead leadership and development program encourages high school students in Fatick, Senegal, to become role models for younger generations, and promote gender equality in their communities!  Our Sisters Lead participants attend workshops on the leadership skills that most interest them, including conflict resolution, public speaking, advocacy, and women’s rights. Awa, a high school leader in the program, shared, “Thanks to this program, today, I know my rights because I did training on communication on the priority issues of rights.” Awa dreams of becoming a lawyer, so she can eradicate violence against women and girls. 

Not only does this program promote women in leadership roles, but it also teaches boys how to support girls in their fight for gender equality! Yaya, a male participant in the program, commented, “I want to speak up alongside my sisters to give them courage to help them accomplish their tasks.” He went on to discuss the importance of taking on domestic tasks and supporting girls on their educational journey. Our Sisters Lead is vital because in the rural communities where WGEP work, boys often remain in school while girls are forced to drop out to help with household chores, or move to cities like Dakar to become domestic workers. This phenomenon leads to a lack of women in positions of power and authority in local communities.

Each year, Our Sisters Lead serves 300 girls and 60 boys, helping them to gain critical leadership skills, and empowering them to design community service projects! Khadidiatou, another high school leader, stated, “This program helped me a lot to strengthen my commitment, determination, and conviction to achieve my dream in the future through the training we received on public speaking, girls and women's rights issues and leadership.” Khadidatou is already making change in her community, and helped to organize a community march on International Women’s Day to spread the word to end gender-based violence! 

To learn more about Our Sisters Lead, check out our recent video with interviews from Awa, Yaya, Khadidiatou, and their classmates:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC34cqE1I0Y&feature=youtu.be

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Ami, a WGEP scholar in Toubacouta, Senegal
Ami, a WGEP scholar in Toubacouta, Senegal

March is Women's History Month, and we're proud to highlight Ami, one of 900+ adolescent girls in our Sisters to School scholarship program. Ami shares in her own words how the Sisters to School program has supported her through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic:

"I am a student in my final year of middle school in Toubacouta. I live with my mom and my 3 little sisters. My mum was abandoned by my father and then he filed for divorce. So, she lives alone with her children. My mother does not have a formal job, she sells breakfast every morning in the neighborhood in order to earn some money to feed us and support me and my sisters. She gets up every day at 5 a.m. to prepare food to sell to customers in the neighborhood for breakfast. Sometimes she works as a domestic helper doing the laundry for other people to earn some money as well.

Education is important to me because it is the only way today to succeed in life, to fight injustice, inequality, and poverty! Thanks to Women's Global I had the will and the courage to continue my studies, because at one point I almost stopped school to help my mother overcome the difficulties she was facing because of the treatment she faced from my father. But it is thanks to WGEP that I had the strength to change my mind and continue my studies through support for registration fees, school supplies, toiletries, tutoring classes, food aid during the difficult times of the COVID period and especially the important advice and recommendations that I receive.

My dream for the future is to pursue studies and succeed to obtain the diplomas and qualifications required to have a good job in order to better support my mother, my sisters and get them out of poverty. I want to be a lawyer to help all the children who are abandoned by their fathers in my village and everywhere in Senegal.”

Please make a gift this month to ensure that more girls like Ami can attend and succeed in school! Thank you for your support and advocacy for girls' education and gender equity.

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WGEP Senegal scholars
WGEP Senegal scholars

Last month, Women’s Global Education Project Senegal hosted a special community celebration in honor of the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child, a day to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. 

We celebrated the hundreds of adolescent girls in our program who maintained a 100% retention rate in school this year! This accomplishment would not have been possible without the involvement of the many parents, community leaders, and mentors who supported girls through the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, in addition to WGEP’s scholarship program, which covers the costs of school and exam fees, uniforms, food, school supplies, transportation and safe lodging for all scholars.

Please enjoy this video of community members dancing at this special event, and thank you for believing in the power of girls’ education!

Students with supplies for the 2021-2022 year!
Students with supplies for the 2021-2022 year!
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Mame Diarra, a 17-year-old scholar in Sokone
Mame Diarra, a 17-year-old scholar in Sokone

Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP) provides comprehensive school scholarships to hundreds of students across the rural Fatick region of Senegal. Scholarships cover the cost of school fees, which, especially in secondary school, can cause girls to drop out. Additionally, scholarships include school supplies, food, safe housing, and menstrual pads. 

Mame Diarra is a WGEP scholar who attends high school in Sokone, Senegal, and is determined to become an engineer! Hear from Mame Diarra in her own words:

How has WGEP supported you through your education? My father is a teacher and also sells goods at the local market, and does not earn enough to meet all of our family’s needs. I was lucky to join Women’s Global Education Project’s scholarship program, which has supported me from my first year in middle school until now. School tuition is not expensive at all in elementary school, but it is when you start middle school and high school, which causes many girls to drop out. In my studies, I was afraid during my first year of school because I thought my classmates were further ahead in their studies. I always said to myself, “I can succeed,” and over time I gained more confidence and realized it was true. Performing well on my exams helped me to overcome this fear! 

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your education? I went five months without going to school during the pandemic. This period affected me because I could not continue my studies while at home, and I was not in contact with my classmates who I usually studied with. It affected my mental health to not know when we would ever go back to school! WGEP provided moral support for me through phone calls, as well as food and toiletries to support me and my family during the school closures, and hand sanitizer and masks so we could protect ourselves from contracting the virus. 

What does your education mean to you? My education means everything to me; I know that with my education I will have a bright future. 

What do you want to be when you grow up? What are your dreams? When I grow up I want to become a geological engineer. My dreams are first to finish my studies, to be an engineer, to become a respectable woman, to support my parents, my family, my community, to help people for good and to finish their education! I would also like to write a collection of poems!

We are proud to serve Mame Diarra, and are inspired by her hard work and determination! Your support for girls’ education is greatly appreciated.

High school students smiling in Sokone, Senegal!
High school students smiling in Sokone, Senegal!
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Scholars at our Gender Based Violence Workshop
Scholars at our Gender Based Violence Workshop

According to United Nations' data, an estimated 47 million more women and girls worldwide will be pushed into extreme poverty due to COVID-19. This, combined with rising reports of gender-based violence, has made it increasingly important to support women and girls through the "shadow pandemic." Women's Global Education Project is proud to offer comprehensive, community-led programs to help more girls attend and succeed in school, and address the multitude of issues caused by the pandemic.

In Senegal, school is back in session with new safety protocols implemented, and we have resumed in-person program activities to support scholars through this challenging year. In 2021, 566 adolescent girls will receive comprehensive scholarships that provide school fees, uniforms, school supplies, sanitary pads, and tutoring for exams. In addition to the scholarships, students participate in workshops on topics like puberty, reproductive health, and gender-based violence. In February, we hosted a weekend retreat on gender-based violence and support pathways for our scholars; who were able to take a break from their intensive trainings and take photos along the sea! 

Thank you for sharing our passion for this important work. To learn more about our programs, please visit our website at womensglobal.org, or check out our most up-to-date photos on Instagram

Taking a break from studies at the sea!
Taking a break from studies at the sea!
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Women's Global Education Project

Location: Oak Park, IL - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Amy Maglio
Founder
Oak Park, Illinois United States
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