Girls Education International has been supporting girls in Liberia, West Africa since 2008. As of this week, we are excited to announce that our program has the chance for additional support through a live spot on GlobalGiving.org.
The support from everyone who contributed to our Open Challenge in September is still having a huge impact. With GlobalGiving.org we can continue to promote our Pakistan program and also bring focus to the 50 girls we support in Liberia. Please check out our page at GlobalGiving.org and consider making a charitable donation for the holidays and into the new year. There's no time like the end of the year to give big.
In May 2011, GEI co-founder Lizzy Scully and Social Media coordinator Rai Farrelly are planning to make a (self-funded) trip to Liberia to attend the girls' graduation ceremony with our partner organization, The Common Ground Society. We plan to bring you stories, videos and messages from the girls in our program, as well as a glimpse into the importance of your support.
Thanks for all you've done so far. Please continue to spread the word and help us keep the momentum going for both programs.
|A group of the school girls supported by Girls Education International and the Common Ground Society in Liberia.|
GEI has provided 47 girls in the mountainous regions of Bong and Margibi counties, Liberia, with education scholarships since 2008. This basic scholarship program costs $5,000(US) each year. GEI has just finished our second year funding these scholarships, and despite the fact that many of our girls don’t get to eat every day, all of them maintained a C+ or better average and are on track for graduation. Our first ten girls will graduate from high school at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
For the 2010-2011 school year, tuition costs are increasing and GEI will also need to provide additional funds to pay for all 47 girls to take national exams. GEI is working with the Liberian non-governmental organization Common Ground Society (CGS) and its program director Emily Sherman-Davis. Emily and her husband, Marvin Garbeh Davis founded CGS in 2003 to support peace education for the children of war-torn Liberia. The 1999-2003 Liberian civil war killed more than 250,000 Liberians and displaced hundreds of thousands of others. Subsequently, thousands of children lost the opportunity to get an education.
The Big Issues
Three quarters of females in Liberia are illiterate (compared to only 38% of males) and only 58% of girls are enrolled in primary school. Poverty in Liberia is rampant – one half of Liberians live in abject poverty and the unemployment rate is 85%. Poverty is even higher in the rural areas where GEI provides scholarships. The 47 girls who currently participate in the GEI-CGS scholarship Program are from the most disadvantaged families in the country and some even live alone and are self supported.
The Future of Our Liberia Program
GEI is making this a long-term project, and plans to add new girls to the scholarship program when current girls graduate. We also hope to expand the program to eventually include 100 girls, and to offer all our girls an after-school reproductive health education class, a library of school-related materials, a weekend tutoring program, and additional stipends to cover the costs of uniforms, meals, textbooks, and other needs. Even with scholarship help from GEI, the cost of uniforms, schoolbooks and ID cards is still a significant financial drain on the girls and their families. The addition of a reproductive health education program and stipends to pay all the girls' educational needs will cost an additional $25,000 per year.
Please read more and see additional pictures at our GlobalGiving.org page.