Help us meet our goal of raising $50,000

Monday, May 18, 2009

GEI Newsletter #1, In other news...

In other news…

2009 year-end giving letter a huge success
GEI brought in nearly $2,000 with its year-end giving letter, including a $500 donation from Jacqui Hudson. Additionally, we received a $2,500 donation from Laura Molinari. Thanks to these ladies alone, we can pay for two entire semesters of the Liberia Scholarship Program. A huge thank you to all our donors! If you would like to donate, please visit our site ( It costs just $71 to pay for one Liberian girl to go to school.

GEI’s new and improved website!
As GEI evolves and progresses, we feel our website should reflect these changes. Built by Mick Follari and the Trakkware team (, the new site retains its design, but will be moved to an easy-to-update content management system. Check the Web site in late May to view our updates.

Girls Ed welcomes three new volunteers
Over the past six months, three new volunteers joined the GEI team. Jancy Quinn is working on the five-year marketing plan and is responsible for the new logo. Stephanie Maltarich is providing valuable assistance with the newsletter. Luisa Giles is searching for potential donors and/or partners to support GEI projects.

GEI Enewsletter #1, section B

Grant finished, grantors needed
In December, GEI co-founder Lizzy Scully finalized a grant proposing the expansion of the GEI-CGS Liberia Scholarship Program. The program currently provides school fees to 47 girls in the mountainous regions of Liberia. The proposed grant seeks to garner funds to provide a total of 50 girls in Bong and Margibi counties with scholarships, stipends for uniforms, books, ID cards, a daily meal, and an after school Reproductive Health Education Program. GEI is currently searching for donor organizations and foundations that might be interested in supporting this expansion.

GEI welcomes new board member
A mediator and facilitator for Colorado-based CDR Associates, Jennifer Graham brings a wealth of experience to GEI. In addition to earning an M.S. at Cornell University in natural resources and receiving two Ford Foundation Fellowships, she has spent four years with the Peace Corps and the German Technical Cooperation in Malawi, Africa. She has both a command of Chitumbuka (a Bantu language) and an understanding of non-governmental organization work. Additionally, she facilitated the creation of Liberia’s first trans-boundary Peace Park with its neighbors in Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire in the Nimba region of the country.

Enewsletter #1, section A

Girls Education International Enewsletter #1, section A

Girls Education International news
Newsletter #1

Scholarship Program helps 11-year-old Liberian
The youngest child in the joint Girls Education International-Common Ground Society Liberia Scholarship Program, 11-year-old Jennie Flomo expected to drop out of school by third grade. The burden of school fees overwhelmed her family. Like her older sister, she would instead sell small condiments door-to-door or at the market, do laundry, find firewood, and cook.

The CGS Project Manager in Liberia, Emily Sherman-Davis, met Jennie at the Methodist School while doing the assessment and selection of the girls in Bong County, April 2008.

“On my way outside the building I met Jennie, a shy little girl in an worn-out dress outside the verandah,” Sherman-Davis says. “She walked up to me, greeted me with her head bowed, and asked: ‘Are you the woman that has come with the scholarships?’”

That day, Jennie had come to school to register, despite the fact that she wasn’t sure if her parents could pay the school fees. When she heard Sherman-Davis was in town, she asked for help.

“It is not a normal thing for a young person to easily approach an older person and make a request,” she explains. Moved and impressed, Sherman-Davis approved Jennie’s scholarship. When Jennie personally received her acceptance letter, Sherman-Davis says, “She ran up and down the school campus exclaiming, ‘I am so happy I want to run home and tell my parents that I got a scholarship that will pay my fees!’”

Jennie is now in Grade four and is among the first three students in her class. Her second period average is 85 (B+).

Please check out our blog ( for photos of our Liberian girls.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pakistani Women discuss the Taliban in Pakistan

Part One: Pakistani Women Panel

As the fighting in Pakistan's Swat Valley rages on, hundreds-of-thousands of civilians are just trying to stay out of the cross-fire. At least 360,000 people have fled their homes since a military offensive that began last week.

And according to the United Nations Refugee Agency, more seem likely to follow. The Pakistani Army is trying to push back Taliban fighters after they got within 65 kilometres of the capital, Islamabad. Government officials say more than 700 militants have been killed along with 20 soldiers.

Many Pakistani women support the government's bid to oust the Taliban from the Swat Valley. But as in many conflict zones, women are also among the most vulnerable once the fighting starts.

For their thoughts on the fighting and what's at stake for women in Pakistan, we were joined by Kamila Shamsie. She is a Pakistani-born novelist who now lives in the United Kingdom. Her latest novel is Burnt Shadows and she was in Ottawa this morning. Shahina Siddiqui is a Pakistan-born Canadian and the President of the Islamic Social Services Association in Winnipeg. And Fatima Bhutto is a Pakistani journalist who writes for the country's largest Urdu-language newspaper as well as The New Statesman magazine. She's also the niece of Benazir Bhutto and she's currently working on a book about Pakistan, her prominent family and the violence that connects them. She was in Karachi.

For more information, listen to this CBC radio show. Click here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Afghani Women Determined to Learn

This is a wonderful article about the fortitude of Afghani women and girls. Click here to read and/or view it.