Posts Tagged ‘girls education’

Room to Read–the Gift of Literacy Around the World

I hope you’re getting ready, as I am, to put on your gratitude pants (with handy elastic waist for post-prandial expansion from the Thanksgiving feast). I truly hope you and yours have much to be thankful for and are able to share the good fortune you enjoy with others who may not be as lucky.

There are so many arenas where I recognize I am so outrageously fortunate–one of them being the access to education I had when I was young. Not everyone, of course, has that, and access to education can be quite discriminatory, not only divisive along financial lines, but with heinous gender inequality as well. An educated girl is simply not as highly prized as an educated boy in many parts of the world, and 42% of girls in developing nations are not enrolled in school. Room to Read is one of many organizations trying to do something about that. Believing that world change starts with education, they work with local communities and educators in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, South Africa, and Zambia (with plans to move into other literacy-challenged regions) to bring hope of an education to all children, develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school. Through initiatives like “Reading Room” (building and stocking libraries–more than 10,000 so far), Local Language Publishing (giving kids access to materials in their native language), School Room (building primary and secondary school classrooms), and Girls’ Education, Room to Read is spreading the word–literally.

They have a strong devotion to supporting the communities where they work, and employing local teachers and builders/tradespeople, so they don’t have overseas volunteer opportunities–but go to the site, spin around a bit, and support the work of bringing access to education to all.

Buy a Girl Her Life Back…The Girl Store

In India, it is not yet past history that girls are sold into marriage, sexual slavery, or forced labor. What we do know now in the day and age of global awareness, is that girls who are allowed to pursue an education have a higher sense of self worth and tend to not fall off the charts and into situations like these over which they have no control. Education pulls girl children out of the miasma…but affording an education is still the block. Financial struggle is enough to snuff out her dreams and force her to resign herself to a life without control.

The Girl Store is a bit of clever marketing from the Nanhi Kali Foundation that is dedicated to the girls of India. At the Girl Store, you simply pledge to purchase specific items needed to send a girl to school. $22 for school books, for example. $19 for a backpack or math kit. $10 for a school uniform, $14 for the uniform shoes (uniforms are often required to attend school, and can be the difference in a family affording to send their daughter). It is a highly visual website with girls and their particular requirements laid out for easy connection to your heart, and ideally, your wallet. Check it out, but a lunch set or fourth-grade workbook, and help get another girl into a life where she makes decisions for herself. You can also sponsor a child for a full year for just $65 (grades 1-7) or $85 (grades 8-10). The concept of “Buying a Girl” is provocative, and while the campaign is slick (and controversial) it should not be loaded by us with all the additional baggage our political correctness can unduly add. Be clear about the effort, the intent, and the full execution of the plan, to Buy a Girl Her Life Back.

Safari to Support Girls’ Literacy in Africa

Photo: Africa Adventure Consultants

For some reason, African Safari trips have lately been coming up in conversation around me much more than usual. I cherish the memories of my trip to South Africa and Zambia, and can’t wait to get back, repeatedly. There seems to be something in the air/season as so many people I know are all talking about going for the first time , or returning soon. I suspect it is more than just the ubiquitous attention on the World Cup in South Africa, but perhaps that is why the destination is top of mind now, in particular.

Africa Adventure Consultants and AfricAid are teaming up to provide you an opportunity to have a trip-of-a-lifetime safari (and believe me, you will never forget the safari experience) while contributing to the Kisa Project for scholarship and leadership training for young African women. The portion of your safari cost that is donated will provide a two-year scholarship for one girl’s education. AfricAid provides funding for scholarships, school building projects, leadership training, vocational and teacher training, school supplies, school lunch programs, and it works in conjunction with the local initiatives of Tanzanians and other African leaders committed to education.

This 13-day In-Depth Cultural Experience & Wildlife Safari is in Tanzania and boasts game viewing in Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater, and Serengeti parks, village visits to AfricAid-supported schools, accommodations in luxury tented and mobile camps and lodges, meals, land transfers and more. The wildlife experience will be one of your life’s treasures—I promise—and the difference you make, directly, in the life of a young woman will, in fact, impact our entire world. Opening a door in this way ushers a young woman to greatness, and THAT is worthwhile whether you get to see the Big 5 or not.

Pakistan Education

TCF Primary School , Machar Colony, Karachi

It’s tough being a kid anywhere, and in Pakistan, the cultural influences discouraging and effectively prohibiting education for girls as well as the impoverished makes it nearly impossible for the next generation to break the cycle. Rural Pakistani children have not had access to education in meaningful ways, and tend to be forced by circumstance to follow in the heavily trod footsteps of their parents. The Citizen’s Foundation is a non-profit organization set up in 1995 in Pakistan to try and open the doors of education, both literally and figuratively, to children regardless of sex and class.

They have built 600 schools from the ground up, enrolling 80,000 students. Even more astounding in this region is that female enrollment makes up 50% of the student body. This is shaping up to be the first generation where girls and young women have had these opportunities. The schools have also employed a female work force of teachers, giving jobs to 4,150 women, most of whom would otherwise never have had the chance to work and earn income for their families. 6,025 jobs have been created by TCF, and there are more on the way.

More are on the way, because there is a lofty and brilliant goal of building 400 ADDITIONAL schools in the poorest urban slums and remote rural communities of Pakistan.

This is where you come in. Of course, donated dollars are a huge help in this fight for education and freedom from poverty…and donated volunteer hours are also an enormous gift. From the website: “You may contribute in many different ways regardless of your age or your country of residence. You can give as little or as much time as you choose. Volunteer work with TCF can range from projects available at the head office, collection of books for school libraries, teacher training, running a donation drive, to helping out in the fundraisers organized by our chapters, setting TCF chapters worldwide for rounding up global support, etc.” Find out about the volunteer position that fits your passion and talents here.

This isn’t even about giving people a second chance–it’s about giving them a first chance. You want to be part of that.