Stepping Stones International plans to offer STEM education to orphaned and vulnerable girls ages 12-25 through our partnership with Design Squad Global. This project will allow us to expand STEM activities to all five centers and will provide a meal for all participants.
Vulnerable youth in Botswana lose their childhood at a young age. Up to 40% of all orphans are aged 12-17 years old. As a result, many, especially girls, become caregivers which increases the likelihood that they obtain inadequate health care, are not protected from sexual exploitation and lose focus on education. In addition, Botswana faces a significant shortage of women educated in science, engineering, technology and math.
SSI provides year long, daily after-school programming (including school holidays) which includes STEM activities that foster innovation and empower girls to solve real-world problems and understand the impact of engineering in their local community and in a global context. By helping youth develop design process skills and apply them to different engineering challenges, we not only address a large gap in girls' education but also teach youth how to apply those tools to their own lives.
One of the most urgent priorities facing our world is to ensure access to quality education for girls in every country, especially STEM education. An educated girl is healthier, delays marriage, has healthier children and reinvests in her family and community. Our long-term goal is to see an increase in the percentage of girls who complete secondary school and go on to either attend college or secure employment.