Education is often something taken for granted. Living in a country where some form of education is mandatory, whether it’s a public school, private school, or a home-schooled education, it may feel to many of us like a natural right. Yet children in impoverished countries, specifically girls, are often still denied the right to learn.
This is a problem because of the significant correlation between empowerment and education. In a study by the International Center for Research on Women, it was found that women who have an education are, unsurprisingly, much more likely to control their own futures and to positively affect their communities.
The non-profit organization, She’s the First, wants to change the lives of young women and girls in impoverished countries. Its goal is to get girls to graduation. The nonprofit does this, in part, by sponsoring and supporting girls who will be the first in their families to get a high school diploma. Today, the organization has helped nearly 900 girls from countries in Africa, Latin America, and Southern Asia to become She’s the First scholars.
The whole thing started with a YouTube video back in 2009. Co-founder Tammy Tibbetts wanted to use social media to inspire millennials to share her passion in supporting girls’ education. Tibbetts and her fellow co-founder Christen Brandt shared the fact that they had received scholarships to pursue their educations. They also shared the need they felt to pay it forward.
The way that She’s the First accomplishes its goal is by first selecting girls based on both their financial needs and their academic merit, and then by honing in on girls who have high potential. Once a girl is chosen to be a She’s the First scholar, she receives her own set of tools that she needs to be successful.
The first tool she receives is the scholarship itself. Providing girls with scholarships takes away the burden of paying for tuition, which is a large setback for families in impoverished countries. The organization also provides girls with a mentor, who encourages them and provides them with ongoing support. This is because if no one at home is encouraging the student to finish her education, there’s a much higher chance she may drop out.
Scholars from She’s the First also receive basic necessities like nutritious food, medicine, uniforms, and shoes. The organization realizes that education may not be a priority if the girls have to worry about getting the basic things that they need to survive. Whenever it is applicable, sponsored housing and dorms are also provided for the girls. She’s the First recognizes the dangers of commuting for girls and their need for a safe place to study.
Education goes hand-in-hand with awareness. That is why scholars take part in a global awareness program that teaches them about the issues that women face around the world, and how they themselves can help fix the issue.
Programs like She’s the First give girls around the world a chance at happiness and a better future. If you want to support She’s the First you can donate on the website, or read about how to start your own fundraiser.
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