Do you think it's fair that a few dollars can be the difference between a brilliant, hard-working girl staying in school or dropping out forever? Or that parents have to choose between feeding their child and sending her to school? We don't! BEF provides scholarships, educational support, and job training to underprivileged but highly motivated girls (and some boys) so they can stay in school, graduate and get jobs. Our board covers admin costs so 100% of donations directly support our programs.
Although primary education is free in Benin, basic high school expenses can exceed $150/year, while university easily exceeds $1000. This is in a country where the average annual income is less than $700, so about 50% of students are forced to drop out after primary school -- even if they are earning top grades. Yet, with a relatively small amount of funding and support, students can not only remain in school but thrive.
We partner with schools and community members to identify top students who are at risk of dropping out. Most are orphans or their parents are subsistence farmers. At least 50% of our scholars are girls. We commit to support each student through graduation as long as they earn good grades. We tailor support to their needs: school fees, books, supplies, housing (some students must leave their villages to attend school) and healthcare. We offer career counseling and training in entrepreneurship.
This program is breaking the cycle of poverty in rural Benin. Since our founding in 1998, we have enabled over 6,000 at-risk students to stay in school. Dozens of BEF scholars have earned university degrees and launched careers in a wide range of fields including medicine, IT, journalism, agriculture, and more. Many have started businesses. Several students have worked or volunteered with us. They are now mothers and fathers supporting families and improving their communities.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).
BEF Student Testimonials
Video of BEF students and local staff
Video about our COVID response