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Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School

by Self-Help International
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
Stop 250 Teen Girls in Ghana from Missing School
The Teen Girls Club makes masks!
The Teen Girls Club makes masks!

Self-Help International's Teen Girls Club started in the Ashanti Region of Ghana in 2016 with the purpose of empowering young girls to get a senior high school and college education and to be economically independent in the future. Teen Girls Club members receive academic support from Self-Help, and Self-Help staff work with the girls’ teachers to help the teachers organise extra classes after school for the girls. Sometimes, Self-Help helps supply academic materials they may not be able to access. Self-Help also teaches the girls hands-on skills that will equip them to have more opportunities in their future education or careers.

As part of the skills training, Self-Help staff taught Teen Girls Club how to use needles and thread to do embroidery. Girls are able to use these embroidery skills to mend their uniforms and clothing with minor rips or tears, extending the life of their clothes. 

In March 2020, Teen Girls Club members were suddenly faced with another relevant and important way to put their embroidery skills to use: sewing face masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

In an effort to address the spread of COVID-19 through community transmission, the government in Ghana put in place various safety measures throughout many areas of the country. Travel is limited, group meetings are restricted, and face masks are required when in public. Self-Help, in keeping with its mission to help people to help themselves, worked with the girls to identify skills they already possessed that could help keep them and their families safe. 

The Teen Girls Club coordinators worked with the girls to sew their own masks, using the embroidery skills they had previously learned. The pattern was provided by a seamstress named Sarah, a small business owner in Self-Help’s micro-credit program. Sarah also provided face masks for Self-Help staff to wear. Read all about how Sarah started sewing face masks here.

For Self-Help staff, it was amazing to see the girls in smaller groups practicing social distancing and seriously using their needles and thread to sew their own nose masks. The girls in the club are very grateful to Self-Help because, in spite of the pandemic, they have learned new skills while making face masks. They are now able to make one for themselves, their friends, and their family members.

In addition to making the face masks, Self-Help staff taught the girls proper handwashing techniques and advised the girls to maintain social distancing based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ghana Health Service. 

Sewing masks by hand.
Sewing masks by hand.
Sewing masks by hand.
Sewing masks by hand.

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We're so grateful for YOU!
We're so grateful for YOU!

A few weeks ago, you empowered 400 young women in Ghana to keep pursuing their education by making a gift to the Self-Help Teen Girls Club through the GlobalGiving Girl Fund Campaign!

Before the campaign, we set a goal to raise $3,500 from 95 supporters between Mar. 6-13. You went above and beyond. Not only did you personally support the Teen Girls Club - you invited your friends, family, and colleagues to join you.

Thanks to your mobilization efforts, 236 people came together to raise $9,841 to provide after-school tutoring, life-skills training, girls’ health lessons, and confidence-building sessions to girls in 5 communities.

The Teen Girls Club finished in 9th place in the Girl Fund and didn’t make it into the 2020 Girl Fund cohort, but you changed the lives of 400 young women and pushed other projects in the Girl Fund to raise money to empower women and girls around the world.

In total, the GlobalGiving’s Girl Fund raised $280,445 from 6,728 supporters for women and girls everywhere.  The organizations in the 2020 Girl Fund cohort are doing amazing things to champion women and girls, including: improving the livelihoods of women in rural Kenya; helping girls in Kenya stay in school; improving girls’ access to education in Senegal; empowering girls in Africa with sanitary supplies and girls’ health education; training girls in India to be “peer health educators” in low-income schools; educating and employing girls living in extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic; improving gender equity through clean water access in Rwanda; and providing training to at-risk girls in Uganda about topics like gender equity, girls’ health, etc.

Thank you so much to all of you who made this year’s Girl Fund such a success!  Keep an eye out for a project report from the same email address in about 6-8 weeks so you can learn more about the impact you made possible for so many more young women in Ghana!

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Headmaster Ernest working with the Teen Girls Club
Headmaster Ernest working with the Teen Girls Club

The Teen Girls Club is competing for a spot in the 2020 GlobalGiving Girl Fund, and we need your help! Between March 6-13, Self-Help's Teen Girls Club project on is competing for one of eight year-long slots in the GlobalGiving Girl Fund. The eight winning projects will receive monthly funding from the Girl Fund. Girl Fund winners from the past three years have raised between $10,000-$15,000 during their 12 months of funding.

To automatically get a spot, Self-Help's Teen Girls Club needs to be one of two projects with the greatest number of unique donors that made gifts of $10 or more. To qualify for a peer-led selection process to determine the last six spots, the Teen Girls Club needs to be one of 15 projects with the greatest number of unique donors that made gifts of $10 or more.

How can you help? By making a gift of $10 or more on GlobalGiving.org to the Teen Girls Club between March 6-13 and urging your friends and family to do the same! Click here to see the terms and conditions.

Nkontomire is a small community located in the Atwima Nwabiagya Municipality in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. It is about 40 kilometers from Kumasi with a population of approximately 500 people. It is a rural community with basic social amenities such as safe drinking water, electricity, and a school. Most of the people are into farming; they cultivate large quantities to feed their households and also for commercial use. Some people are also into cash crop farming such as cocoa. Due to the great contribution the community makes to the agricultural sector, it has attracted many community development interventions from non-governmental organizations such as Solidaridad, MOPCCA, and Self-Help International.

One of the active interventions in the community is Self-Help’s Teen Girls Club which was introduced in 2017. The club is focused on young girls, and its main purpose is to help teen girls achieve academic success and go on to senior high school. The club also teaches skills for girls to support themselves and lessons in self-esteem.

Nkontomire M/A primary school is a government school headed by Headmaster Ernest with about 350 students, 55 percent of which are girls. It lacks adequate reading materials, computers and other learning equipment. The headmaster is an advocate for the school’s development, so he has encouraged his students to join the Teen Girls Club. He has also given Self-Help an opportunity to meet club members for reading practice and other lessons at the school.

When the club began, the girls were challenged in many ways. Nearly all of the club members could neither read nor construct simple sentences as a result of the school lacking reading materials to teach properly. Also, girls’ enrollment was decreasing because most of the girls lacked information on what to do during menstruation. During their periods, some did not go to school at all while others sought permission to go home. Personal hygiene was another issue the girls faced. They had low self-esteem and confidence. Most of them were too shy to ask questions during meetings or in class.

Despite the challenges that could have hindered the girls, they understood what the Teen Girls Club was about and were committed from the start. As part of the program, Self-Help provided the school with standard reading materials to enhance the girls’ reading and writing skills. Life support skills and other training, such as self-esteem, goal setting, personal hygiene, reproductive health, etc. were added with the hope that these lessons would change their lives. They developed the habit of reading and started making progress in class. This encouraged the headmaster and three other teachers from the school to volunteer to teach the girls after school hours.

Now, the ‘old’ girls are gone and a great change is here. Almost all of the girls are able to read and write. They understand their menstrual cycle and do not miss school during it. Participants have higher self-esteem and confidence, and nonmembers are feeling inspired to join the group.

The headmaster expressed his profound gratitude to Self-Help, noting that the intervention has indeed created more awareness of girls’ issues at the school, increased girls’ enrollment, provided reading materials for the school, and created structure and discipline for the girls. Everyone at the school involved with the Teen Girls Club program would like to convey their appreciation for the great impact and support.

Teen Girls Club
Teen Girls Club
Teen Girls Club
Teen Girls Club
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Adwoa.
Adwoa.

Adwoa is the only daughter of her parents’ eight children. Her family migrated from the Ivory Coast to the small village of Yawmensah in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. 

Yawmensah is a very small village, and it doesn’t have a school. After Adwoa’s family settled there, Adwoa had to walk around 2 km (1.2 mi) every day to school in the larger neighboring community, Timeabu. 

Since Adwoa’s mother tongue was French and classes in Ghana are taught in either English or Twi (one of the major languages in Ghana), studies became difficult for her. Adwoa had difficulty communicating with her teachers and her peers, which made being in school very uncomfortable for her. Adwoa’s situation continued to worsen, and she was asked to repeat a grade in school. This impacted Adwoa’s social life and isolated her from her peers. 

During this time, Adwoa heard about Self-Help International’s Teen Girls Club, which aims to help teen girls in rural communities with reading, writing, life skills training, and moving upward through school. Adwoa eagerly joined in 2016. She knew that her struggles were rooted in not being able to communicate at school, so she took the reading and writing class seriously. Adwoa said that, although the club was helping immensely, Self-Help’s Project Coordinator, Victoria, was the one who saw her plight and provided additional assistance and support.

After a year, Adwoa - who previously could hardly write, speak, or understand English and Twi - was learning at an accelerating rate, and her learning was reflected in all the subjects she was studying at school. Adwoa was promoted to the next grade level where she is now the second best student in her class. 

Additionally, her unbeatable performance in school qualified her for the 2019 inter-schools quiz in the district, a highly sought after and respected accomplishment in the district. Her teachers and the headmaster are all impressed by her performance. 

Adwoa is now a happy girl and feels proud of herself. She said the club has helped her academically and has also helped her improve her self-esteem.

Adwoa at school.
Adwoa at school.
Adwoa with her classmates.
Adwoa with her classmates.
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Hawa.
Hawa.

There's a chance to increase your impact for GivingTuesday on Dec. 3! Scroll down to learn more!

This article was written by a Teen Girls Club support staff member, Bridget Gyamfi, a National Builders Corps (NABCO) member of the Teen Girls Club.

Hawa is a go-getting young woman with a dream of becoming a fashion designer. She is from Bedaabour, a cocoa growing community in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, and she studied Visual Arts in senior high school. She completed senior high school in 2018, just as the Self-Help International Teen Girls Club was starting in Bedaabour. Hawa eagerly joined the club, and her involvement helped her to stay committed to her studies. Additionally, being in the club made Hawa realize the importance of helping herself no matter the challenges she faces in the future. 

Hawa’s plan after senior high school was to enter into an apprenticeship program or a fashion school, which would put her on the path to achieve her dreams. She believes that the skills she acquired from school - reading, writing, and speaking English - will complement her talents and take her far in her desired career.

Hawa’s life after school has not been easy. She has had to help her parents on their farm so they can raise enough money to put her into a fashion design program. Hawa remembered the life skills she learned from the Teen Girls Club, like saving money and resource mobilization. Using the skills she learned, Hawa started a small business producing and selling popcorn in her village, and it is helping her save money toward going to a fashion design program. 

Because Bedaabour is a rural community, young women typically do not start small enterprises in the community, so Hawa has become a role model to some of the younger girls. In addition to her business, she works casually during cocoa seasons collecting and gathering cocoa pods from nearby farms. Hawa is able to save part of the money she earns and use some to support herself. 

Hawa accepts that life is full of ups and downs. She also believes that she will be able to gradually work towards her dream because she was able to excel during junior and senior high school. She shared that every aspect of her life has seen a positive change as a result of the Teen Girls Club. Hawa gratefully thanked Self-Help and the Teen Girls Club for helping her to help herself to have confidence and goals in life to keep her focused.  

 

For GivingTuesday on Dec. 3, GlobalGiving is offering a $500,000 incentive fund. The Incentive Fund will be distributed to participants proportionally based on final fundraising totals. This means that, at the end of GivingTuesday, the projects that bring in the most dollars will win the largest portion of the Incentive Fund and every project that activates donors will earn something. Gifts made between 12:00 AM and 11:59 PM on Dec. 3 will be eligible for the incentive fund! Read all the terms and conditions here.

Hawa selling popcorn.
Hawa selling popcorn.
Bedaabour teen girls playing soccer.
Bedaabour teen girls playing soccer.
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Organization Information

Self-Help International

Location: Waverly, IA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @SelfHelpIntl
Project Leader:
Nora Tobin
Waverly, IA United States
$37,921 raised of $45,000 goal
 
997 donations
$7,079 to go
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