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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cycling Across China for Girls Education International

We are excited to share the news that Eleanor Moseman, a girls education advocate, is embarking on her bike tour across China to raise funds and awareness for girls education everywhere! Eleanor contacted GEI about a year ago to announce her plan to ride her bike throughout China. She shared her commitment to riding for organizations that promote girls education - and she chose two organizations to support: Girls Education International and Stepping Stones, an organization based in Shanghai, China that promotes educational opportunities for migrant children.

In a recent interview, this is what Eleanor had to say about why she chose GEI as an organization to support:

I chose Girls Education International because it's a foundation run by women for young girls all over the world. They are outdoor enthusiasts, rock climbers, etc. and I felt a common interest with them. It's a great foundation because they do not go to other countries and force a Western way of life on them, but rather train locals to help their own girls.

Eleanor Moseman has been living and working in Shanghai, China since 2008. She works as a photographer and lives as an outdoor enthusiast and cultural explorer, which naturally led to the idea of embarking on a bike tour through China while creating an accompanying photo essay. Her drive to promote access to education for all girls stems from her acknowledgement that as an American woman she has been afforded endless opportunities for education. She hopes that through her ride, her blog and her photography she can join the ranks of other catalysts for change in the lives of girls around the world.

You can read more about Eleanor and her bike tour on her website - which includes the blog roll she will share as she rides and rides and rides! You can show your support for Eleanor and the girls she hopes to impact by 'chipping in'.

Way to go, Eleanor! Have a fabulous time. You have the energy of all girls at your back, giving you a little nudge up the hills and stamina on long days.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Girls Education International, Spring 2010 E-Newsletter

Girls Education International Partners with Bedari, starts program for 2 villages

Girls Education International (GEI) partnered with the Pakistani women’s rights organization Bedari late in 2009 and started its joint secondary school education project this March, 2010.

GEI is providing a total of $5000 toward a Bedari-designed scholarship model for girls, which will be implemented in two villages: Laphi and Sar Kalan. Both these villages lie in the northern mountains of the Salt Range in the Punjab region. Originally GEI planned to work only with girls in Laphi, but nine Laphi families decided against educating their girls. Thus, the opportunity was opened to various families in neighboring Sar Kalan, nine of which signed on. A total of 30 girls will now attend the Government Higher Secondary School, Buchal Kalan, district Chakwal.

The money provided to Bedari for the 2010-2011 school year will pay for transportation, school fees, two sets of uniforms, books, and other school supplies for the girls, as well as a 15% stipend for Bedari to administer the program. For more information on Bedari, visit their site. For more information on the village of Laphi and some of the girls we are supporting, please visit our blog.

New Executive Director, Therese Thompson to Lead Girls Education International

Therese Race Thompson started March 1, 2010 as the part-time executive director for Girls Education International. She will work 10 hours per week while finishing up her MPA in Nonprofit Management from the University of Colorado this May.

According to outgoing Executive Director Lizzy Scully, “Heidi and I took Girls Ed pretty far, and we are really proud of our efforts. But there’s only so much we can do with the experience we have. Therese brings extensive executive director experience and board management skills to the table. She has actually written and implemented nonprofit business plans. We are so excited to have her running the show.”

Not only does Therese bring extensive fundraising experience to the table, but she also brings a passion for women’s issues.

“I have always been interested in girls’ and womens’ issues,” she explains. “I am especially concerned with the education of girls. If you can affect the girl who becomes the woman of the house, you are affecting all of the following generations of both men and women. You are affecting the children and the communities.”

Therese looks forward to building out GEI’s current projects, raising funds for administrative costs, and completing the Girls Education International Fundraising Plan. Her first three months will be spent on “figuring things out, setting things up, and really looking for grant opportunities. There is a ton we need to do, but we really need to get the money coming in for long-term sustainability of the organization.”

Therese comes to us from Summit Cancer Solutions, an organization specializing in providing six-month individualized exercise and nutrition programs for cancer survivors. She will continue to work part-time for Summit, but is looking forward to the new opportunities afforded by GEI.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity to make a difference to girls in Liberia and Pakistan for now, and hopefully more countries in the future as we raise more money,” she says.

Therese resides in Lakewood with her husband Jay, and two children, Ryan, 14, and Connor, 11. They spend their free time backpacking, camping, hiking, and traveling. Therese’s personal hobby is playing the piano. To see Therese’s complete resume, please click here.

Rai Farelly, a PhD student in Linguistics at the University of Utah, is the co-founder of Project Wezesha, an organization raising funds to build a school in western Tanzania. Passionate and driven, Rai will help implement and evaluate current and future international projects and will be the board treasurer. Rai plans on visiting Liberia this summer to assess the Girls Education International/Common Ground Society Scholarship Program. To read more about Project Wezesha: (Hyperlink to Rai’s fundraising site:

Liberia Project Successful: Girls maintain strong GPAs despite the odds

All the participants in the Girls Education International-Common Ground Society (GEI-CGS) Scholarship Program maintained C or better averages during the 2008-2009 school year. Numerous students ranked within the top ten of their class. At E.J. Yancy Elementary & Junior High, Kakata, Margibi County, Teta Y. Dolo ranked 1st in her 8th grade class out of 20 students, with an average of 84%. She excelled in English, Math, and Vocabulary.

At St. Christopher’s Junior High, Kakata, Margibi County, Martu Kollie ranked 2nd in her 4th grade class (total # of students not known), with an average of 87%. She excelled in Religious Education, English, Science, Health, and Spelling. And Dorothy George ranked 3rd in her class with an average of 85% in her classes. She excelled in English, Reading, Science, and Spelling

At William V.S. Tubman-Gray Elementary & High School, Jennie Flomo ranked 5th in her 4th grade class out of 42 students, with an average 82%. She excelled in Reading, Spelling, English, and Phonics. Read Jennie’s story here.

At St. Martin’s Catholic High School (8th grade, 52 students) Neomi Mulbah and Madusy K. Kromah, ranked 6th and 7th, respectively, both averaging just above 82%. They both excelled in Physics, Social Studies, and Literature.

Dekegar Public School Students Out-Perform Other Schools

At Dekegar Public School in Montserrado County, Liberia, there were 20 7th graders during the 2008-2009 school year, 11 of whom were supported by the GEI-CGS Scholarship Program. Out of all our schools, the girls we support at Dekegar performed the best in the 2008-2009 school year. We continue to support these girls and will report on their grades for the 2009-2010 school year as soon as they arrive. To read more about these girls and to hear what they and their families have to say, click here.

Notes & Stuff:

Special thanks to Advisory Board member Steve Murchie for acting as board chair for the first two meetings of 2010.

Purchase one of Girls Education International’s new T-shirts, and support the Liberia and Pakistan projects. We still need to raise $5000 before August to pay for fall semester for both projects! Buy a T-shirt here.
Welcome New Board Member

Co-founder Heidi Wirtz stands with former CFO Justin Voorhees at the 2010 Beats for Books event wearing the new Girls Ed Tees.