By the beginning of October the rainy season is coming to an end and the children in Ouelessebouguo are getting ready to return to the classroom. Here at the Ouelessebougou Alliance we are busy preparing for another successful back to school year. One of our primary focuses continues to be the education of girls. Unfortunately, girls in Mali face many barriers when it comes to education. Most face and suffer from household poverty and are expected to stay home with their mothers to help work and look after younger sibilings. Child labor is very common and many young girls work in the mines to help supplement and support family income. Gender inequality is prevelant and girls marry as young as 12 and 13 years of age. In addition, the lack of menstrual care solutions are all factors that contribute to girls not staying in school and the high drop-out rate of girls in village schools.
Whether or not a girl stays in school has a profound effect on not only her quality of life, but on her future family's life as well. When a Malian girl has the opportunity to receive an education and stay in school, she is more likely to stay healthy, save money, marry later in life and most importantly educate her children. When a girl receives an education it breaks the poverty cycle in one generation.
Our goal in 2019/2020 school year is for even more girls in Ouelessebougou to receive a quality education and experence success. Our local Mali staff partners with the schools, Education Councils and village Health workers to educate village leaders and parents on the importance of girls' education and keeping girls in school. We teach girls gardening, nutrition and financial literacy which improves life skills and future income opportunities. We provide menstration education and distribute Days for Girls feminine hygeine kits to allow girls to attend school year round.
Last year 43% of village students were girls. We want to see that number continue to rise. Thank you for your donation and helping us reach our goals for girls in Ouelessebougou!
"An educated girl will stay healthy, save money, build a business, empower her community, lift her country, change the world."
Nema has plans for her future, a future that would not be possible without the support of Ouelessebougou Alliance's education program. She may only be eight years old, but she already knows she wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She is inspired by her second grade teacher, a mother of four who returned to school to teach with her newborn baby on her back. A quality education is vital for Nema to achieve her dream of teaching one day.
To help Nema and other girls like her stay in school, Ouelessebougou Alliance works with its 12 partner elementary schools to not only provide quality education programs, but also heighten the awareness of the importance of girls' education. Historically, education of girls has not been a high priority in Mali. Due to factors like gender inequality, boys complete school at a faster rate than girls and tend to be more literate. Younger girls are often expected to stay home to do domestic chores. They may often be late or miss class due to cooking, cleaning or caring for their family. When girls start menustrating, they miss more school or drop out all together. Often, they are expected to marry at a young age.
The Alliance has worked for over 25 years in partnership with rural villages to break this cultural tradition. In villages that benefit from our education program, it is evident more and more parents recognize the value and now make their daughters' education a priority. Some have rearranged household chores, saved money for school fees and worked longer hours to ensure their girls can stay in school.
Yet it takes more than working to change a parent's mindsight. To encourage local ownership of our education programs, the village is responsible for facilitating trainings, engaging parents, solving problems with an education council, paying the teachers' salaries and maintaining the classrooms. The Alliance provides support by supplying school supplies and facilities, teacher training and literacy workshops.
This is how your donations help. 100% of your charitable gift goes directly to Ouelessebougou to fund our education program. Our goal is for every student to have access to the resources they need for a successful education experience. This will benefit more girls like Nema. We are committed to increasing girls' enrollment and your contribution makes that happen. Iniche!!!
"International Women's Day" is March 8th: a day to focus on the movement for women's rights. At Ouelessebougou Alliance, we strongly advocate for every girl and woman's right to education. Mali, like many third-world countries, typically discourage females from pursuing formal education. They are often shut out because of discrimination, poverty and culture.
The Alliance has been challenging these obstacles and outdated beliefs for over 25 years. Our partner villages value girls' and women's education and together, we work to help them reach their potential. This is accomplished through our Education Councils which consist of village leaders who educate the parents on the importance of formal education for their daughters. We also provide Days for Girls kits, which are sustainable feminine hygiene solutions, for students so they do not need to miss class during their menstruation. Our efforts don't end after they complete 6th grade. We partner with village middle and high schools to expand opportunities and offer Literacy Workshops for mothers. Because of this partnership, more girls and women are being empowered to learn and expand their education.
This gives students like Fanta more opportunities to reach their goals. Fanta is a 13 year old from the village of Tamala. Her favorite subject in school is French. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up and study abroad. She is an excellent student, the top of her class. Thanks to her village's commitment to her education, Fanta has a bright future.
Thank you for supporting students like Fanta. Because of your contributions, the Alliance can continue offering opportunities for education throughout the 2018-2019 school year. Iniche!
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