By Emily Muir | Educate Girls in Mali, West Africa
Mali continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world and for young girls this makes it difficult to hope for an education. Girls face social, cultural and economic hardship when it comes to fighting for an education, thus young girls continue to sit on the sidelines when it comes to schooling. Even if girls attend school most drop out by the age of 11 or 12 and in the rural villages most young girls are married by the age of 14. Young girls in Mali fight acute malnutrition and poverty and are too often illiterate. Mali ranks as one of the highes coutries in the world as just not having proper access or quality of education for girls.
Girls are often kept home to help their mothers with younger children, or jobs around the home. Girls are often sent away to Bamako to work for wealthier families, as domestic servants, to help earn money to buy food for their families. Girls are often shamed and not provided the proper environment to receive an education once they begin their periods. In rurual Mali, once a young girl has started her period she cannot be educated in the same classroom as a girl who has not started menstruating. This leads to girls dropping out of school and to girls feeling shamed. Most girls do not have the financial resources to begin school or even continue it past a primary education. Further, if a parent has to choose between a son or daughter to receive an education in almost every situation the parent will choose the son.
Ouelessebougou Alliance continues to operate 12 schools in our 25 partnered villages. Educating girls is a primary goal in these schools. Last year 43% of our students attendig our village schools were girls. The Alliance has Education Councils in all our villages working to educate parents about the importance of making sure their girls receive an education. When girls in Mali are educated they are more likely to educate their children, they are more likely to gain employment and/or own and operate a small business, thus, the economy is directly affected and villages thrive due to educated women.
Help the Alliance continue to educate girls in the rural villages of Mali, West Africa. Ten dollars will educate a girl for an entire year in one of the Alliace's partnered villages. When a girl has access to a proper and quality education entire communities begin to thrive.
By Emily Muir | Education for Girls in Ouelessebougou
Girls still have lower education rates than boys in West Africa, particularly in Mali and the Ouelessebougou Region. Largely in part because in rural villages young girls are married very young and face economic hardship and extreme poverty. Girls are most often married before they are emotionally and physically mature or prepared. They are married because their own families can no longer provide for them. After they are married, young girls most often become young mothers and their education becomes non-existant.
Educating girls is an essential process in empowering women and also helping to further the development of Mali. When girls marry young they drop out of school, experience poor helath, have more children over a longer period of time and earn less money as an adult. When women have access to education, they make it a priority to seek out better health care because they are educated about it. They develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. They teach their children about the importance of education and health care. When girls are educated they are more likely to develop a skill or trade. They become empowered and have the ability to lift their families, children and villages from poverty.
Most young girls that do receive a primary education still drop out by 5th or 6th grade. Ouelessebougou Alliance supports 12 village schools in the Ouelessebougou Region. It is our goal to educate as many girls as possible but also to provide them with a quality education. Education for girls is vital for the health and prosperity of villages in Ouelessebougou. Women and their children are faced with extreme hardship on a daily basis but if they are educated they are much more likely to be able to conquer these problems. In addition to 12 schools the Alliance provides Literacy Workshops in 12 villages for girls ages 12 and older. Girls can attend the literacy workshops in the evenings. The Alliance provides training for the teachers on reading, math and lesson planning. Last year, 24 teachers attended and 96 textbooks were distributed. In addition, the Alliance supports 12 village schools. All village schools are supported by Education Councils who work with schools, teachers and parents on literacy goals. Village parents are taught the importance of education for girls in Mali! Last year, 43% of students enrolled in our village schools were girls! Help us continue our success and by educating girls in Ouelessebougou.
The Alliance partners with twelve village schools in the Ouelessebougou region and last year 2, 042 children attended those schools. 43% of those students were GIRLS! Since the inception of the Alliance and its education programs the percentage of girls attending school has steadily increased.
Girls in villages face many obstacles when trying to receive an education. Girls are expected to stay home and help their mothers cook, clean and care for younger siblings. In addition, extreme poverty and even child labor is often a factor. The Alliance works in partnership with village chiefs to break down these barriers facing young girls and educate the villages on the importaqnce of girls receiving an education. The Alliance provides testbooks, school supplies and bench desks in order to provide a strong and successful learning environment. The schools are all maintained and have long term sustainability.
Education helps break the cycle of poverty. Education provides a foundation for growth and success through empowerment. When a girl is educated she is more likely to educate her children. When a girl is educated she will make it a priority to stay healthy, she will make it a priority to keep her children healthy she becomes empowered with knowledge about her enviornment and how to change it. An educated girl will be more likely to start a business and change her community and change her future for her family and future generations. When a girl has the opportunity to receive an education it changes everything, it changes the world.
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