This year did not go as planned for many of the female students who were excited and eager to continue or to start their studies within the field of science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM). Then, COVID-19 started to spread rapidly across the world and in the end of March reached Zimbabwe. As a result, the government decided to close schools and close to all businesses to tackle the virus, forcing even more girls into poverty, prostitution and child marriages.
GVI Trust has been strong supporters of reducing gender inequality within the STEM field and supporting girls getting access to education but also information about the area to encourage more to pursue a career within the field. Thus, whilst education is key to break the cycle of poverty, health must always come first. As the world is meeting a new pandemic, Zimbabwe’s government made the decision to put its country in lockdown at the end of March. This resulted in closure of schools indefinitely together with informal businesses, one of the largest sectors in Zimbabwe. As a consequence, girls were forced to pause their academic and professional careers which we have been advocating for and try to study from the safety of their homes. However, this has severe side effects with the loss of the daily meals at schools, many parents could no longer afford to provide for their children causing severe food insecurity across the country. It is currently estimated that 60% of Zimbabweans do not meet their basic need of food for the day. With this added pressure, it has been reported that the number of girls getting married prior to the turned 18, and number of girls turning to prostitution has increased significantly simply because they cannot afford food.
Therefore, to assist at this struggling time we have thanks to your help, and our partners on the ground have been able to provide the 20 STEM female students, and their families with food parcels to assist during these difficult times. This is to ensure that the girls will not be forced into child marriages nor to participate in prostitution and therefore able to return to school when it is considered safe to do so. However, as we do not know when the schools are ready to open in Zimbabwe we are turning to you to help us ensure that the girls studying STEM continue to get supported with food parcels and free and able to return to school.
A small donation of $20 will be able to feed one family for 1 month during this lockdown period, whilst providing the sanitation needed within the household.
Covid-19 is a reality and is forcing more and more people in Zimbabwe into poverty and delaying children's education. However, to ensure that girls in Zimbabwe will be able to return to school when it is considered safe to do so we must continue to provide emergency support in terms of food and sanitary parcels to those in need. You have helped us before and we continue to hope that you will stay on this journey with us, through the easy as well as the difficult times.
Thank you to our Donors, Fundraisers and Supporters for making this project a possibility!