It’s all about girl power! Educating girls in developing countries has gotten a lot of buzz in recent years, especially with the release of the Girl Rising documentary. When enough girls are educated, they help their entire communities break the cycle of poverty. Not only that—levels of nasty stuff like parasitic disease, illiteracy, infant mortality, and more all fall!
Girls’ education has such awesome transformative power that the United Nations has included education and gender equality in their 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. This is a BIG DEAL—these goals will guide the next 15 years of development for countries around the world. Straight from the horse’s mouth (a.k.a. the UN website), “Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.”
But wait—there’s more to it than that! In Guatemala, there’s also the sad reality that girls are often second-class citizens, even in their own families. When parents have to decide which child to educate on their meager earnings, they usually send the boys to school first, figuring that the girls will just drop out to get married anyway. They’re not wrong—fewer than 1 in 10 rural indigenous girls ever graduates from high school. More than half are married by age 18.
All this to say—educating girls is what the Thousand Girls Initiative is all about! It’s why we focus mainly on girls. In fact, 70% of the students in the Rise Youth Development Program are female. Not only does the program make sure these girls have equal access to education, it also gives them the tools to become future leaders in their communities.
But none of this can happen without YOU.