Why do we focus our efforts on girls?
In many developing nations where poverty is rampant, girls and women live as second class citizens. When a family cannot afford to send all of their children to school, more often than not, their sons will get an education while the girls will stay home to care for younger siblings, cook meals, wash clothes, fetch water and work in the fields. Without an education, these girls won’t be able to compete for jobs and will always have to depend on someone else – usually a husband or boyfriend – for money. This creates a culture of male dominance and a complete lack of independence for women.
Listen to 16 year old Kunyima talk about her responsibilities as a young woman.
Studies show that when women gain financial control they are more likely than men to spend their money on food, education for their children and on small business investments for themselves and their communities. By helping guarantee an education through scholarships and cloth pad distribution so they can continue schooling after puberty, we are giving them the chance to compete in the job market. Through our small business creations, we’re helping women gain financial independence that we hope will bring positive change to their families and communities.
The numbers tell the story in a different way…
- Girls who get an education are 40% more likely to have kids who live to age 5.
- Girls who get an education are three times less likely to contract HIV/AIDS.
- Girls who get an education are more likely to seek healthcare for their children and for themselves.
- An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
- When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
- When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.