As an organization, we have always and will continue to always prioritize the empowerment of women and specifically the empowerment of the girl child. October 11th marks the International Day of the Girl Child and we couldn’t be prouder to be associated with a cause that has such a positive impact. The girl child is often neglected or relegated to being a showpiece or homemaker with no autonomy or right to a lot of the freedoms that boys are often freely given. Oftentimes, people hold on to these outdated customs under the guise of following tradition, etc. where a girl is expected to stay in the home and cook and clean or is married off at a young age. Seeing the serious inequality in the ratio of boys in school vs girls who are in school, we felt this was a need that just had to be addressed.
In our 15 years of existence, we have helped approximately 2500 girls to attain an education. Education is the key to so many things, but most importantly, it is the key to a better and brighter future. For most of the wonderful young girls we have helped see through school, had it not been for our intervention, they may have not received an education at all. And without our partners Academic Work, Norges Idrettsforbund (NIF), and a whole lot of generous individuals who so open-handedly sponsor one or two children, we wouldn’t be able to provide this amazing opportunity. RN’s sponsorship runs from first grade to twelfth grade and we have been able to witness young girls grow into mature, capable, and lovely young women. Thanks to our partners we’re also able to provide a lucky few graduating twelfth graders with tertiary level sponsorship and let me tell you, due to the economy being what it is, tertiary education sponsorship is not an easy thing to come by. We have proudly viewed some of our girls graduate as teachers and nurses, and there is nothing more fulfilling than nurturing someone and seeing them stand on their own feet as strong and bold individuals.
Due to the high cost of college and university, coupled with high unemployment rates, we ventured into skills training by sending girls to go study more practical skills, such as tailoring, catering, power electrical, etc. The biggest up-side of girls going into these fields is that they are able to become entrepreneurs or become freelance workers. This would free them from the burden of having to find formal employment, where jobs are few and far between. Also, these ‘blue-collar jobs’ are very male-dominated fields and we are delighted to be part of breaking down these walls and conventions.
We also have a resource center located at our offices (see above), which was donated by Academic Work of Sweden. This is a space where the girls can come to study and also serves as a safe space for them to come and visit. The resource center is also where the girls receive supplementary Information and Communication Technology (ICT) lessons. The age of computers is not going anywhere anytime soon, and it is imperative for the girls to know their way around a computer. ICT is also a subject in schools, therefore the lessons really come in handy in helping them practice, as most of the schools don’t have computers at all.
We will continue to do all we can to empower the girl child to break boundaries and to be the best she can be. As the saying goes, you educate a girl, you educate a Nation. It’s important that our girls feel empowered and that they know and recognize that they have a voice and that that voice must be heard.