By age 18, 23% of Malawian girls are married, 35% have given birth, and 10.4% attend school. Despite girls' aspirations, most are financially dependent on people who don't share her vision. Given limited support for her dreams, combined with low confidence, girls often concede to customary life choices, pregnancy and marriage. Student Driven Solutions plans to change the course of Malawian girls lives by providing financial & business training together with social justice awareness & mentorship.
Adolescent girls in Malawi often don't believe they can be financially independent. Many girls learn that they should marry young in order to assure their financial security. Without the skills to unlock productive thinking and seek employment, girls often concede to early marriage and pregnancy rather then pursue her ambitions. This project will ensure that fewer Malawian girls disregard their aspirations in search of a sense of financial stability.
SDS works with government trained teachers and female mentors to implement a 5-month curriculum to 30 selected girls at each partner school. The curriculum includes lessons on business, finance, career, and social entrepreneurship. During the training, students implement service projects such as performing a play at local primary schools about the value of girls' education. At graduation, groups with accepted business plans receive start-up material micro-loans ($150) to launch enterprises.
An SDS graduate, Vero, asserts, "SDS helped me develop confidence and business skills to succeed on my own." Before SDS, Vero was unemployed and financially unable to continue school. Vero now owns a shop selling textiles. She earns $60/month, far surpassing the average Malawian wage of $18/month (World Bank). She is now saving for college and helps support her family. Vero is just one of the many girls we train for whom we expect to see greater socio-economic wellbeing and improved livelihoods.