This project will send adolescent girls from very poor families to school and provide them with supplemental nutrition. These girls, whose families earn less than $2 a day, cannot afford the mandatory public school uniform and materials. Without an education, they will repeat the cycle of poverty. By sending them to school -- and away from child marriage, poverty, trafficking and gender-based violence -- we're creating a safe passage from childhood to adulthood for a group of girls in Ethiopia.
Families living in poverty cannot afford to send their children to school. If they can only send one child, they will send their son. This puts adolescent girls at risk for child marriage, trafficking and gender-based violence. Out of school girls lack a safe space and social support from teachers and peers. They are unable to acquire the academic, social and life skills needed to create safe, healthy and dignified lives. Without an education they will repeat the cycle of poverty and inequality.
Education is the most direct pathway out of poverty and inequality. Sending girls to school protects them against child marriage by providing a safe space and helping the community view them as children, and therefore not marriageable. School protects girls from trafficking and violence by keeping them off of the streets and helping them build safe, healthy relationships with adults and peers. With an education, girls can select a safe and dignified livelihood and develop and work toward goals.
This project will break the cycle of poverty for girls. By sending a cohort of girls to school, the community will begin to see girls as an asset rather than a burden. The life skills that girls learn by engaging with peers will create a shift in community norms, increasing gender equality. This project has an intergenerational impact: for every year a girl is in school she will have fewer, healthier children. She is more likely to send her children, including her daughters, to school.