Breaking the cycle of poverty: supporting girls education through adolescence
If you tell a girl she should stay in school, but that requires her to walk 15 miles one way to school, with no breakfast and no lunch, you never really put yourself in her shoes. Before MSLI’s school bus program, this was the reality for most students who finished the 7th grade at their local primary school. Secondary schools in Mozambique require more resources and higher qualified teachers, and are usually located in more urban or peri-urban areas. This is one of the main reasons why rural students drop out of school after the seventh grade. Our mission is to ensure that all children in Mozambique have the opportunity to pursue a full education, and this year we have extended that to overcoming the secondary school hurdle. That’s why we have two school buses transporting 141 secondary school students every day, getting these adolescents to school safely and enabling them to continue with their education.
Girls and boys clubs
Recognizing that most of these students are the first in their families to go to secondary school, we decided to create an additional support system, especially since adolescence can be a tricky time. In May of this year, we welcomed one of our newest team members, Tucha Rangel, who is leading girls clubs for the secondary school students. Twice a week, the students have club meetings with Tucha where they play games, practice skits and dances, eat some snacks, and discuss important topics like goal-setting, communication, puberty, and preventing pregnancy. In August we collaborated with the organization BeGirl, who came and delivered a special workshop for the students about puberty, menstrual hygiene, and reproductive health. Having these club meetings also creates space for the students to confide problems or other issues they may be facing with Tucha, who can then relate these problems to the broader MSLI team. This allows us to learn from the students and hold community meetings when necessary to resolve bigger issues.
These developments represent significant progress we are making in our first year of supporting girls education at the secondary level. Thanks to your support, we are helping these girls reach their full potential!