Education empowers girls to determine their own path in life
Education is a cornerstone of our work here at the Center. Our mission is to adopt the most at-risk girls – victims of abuse, poverty and starvation – and give them a foundation for a new life. We believe that education is a way to break this cycle of abuse and poverty. It means becoming independent with either vocational training or a chance to go onto a higher education. Education empowers girls!
Our Educational Challenges
If you’ve ever enrolled a child in school, imagine doing that for 58 children while trying to guess which grade to start them. Most of our girls come with some educational background and are typically behind based on their age, the remaining girls have never attended school. MGRC is not a school but education is a cornerstone of our work and we believe that education is a way to break the cycle of abuse and poverty. At MGRC, there’s a wide range of ages and abilities, so each girl requires personal attention when getting her transferred or enrolled into a suitable program. That’s one of the reasons why we choose to invest in and utilize the local educational institutions. I wish you could see our mornings…getting 58 kids fed, out the door, and to their different schools…it’s as crazy as you can imagine!
Some girls like Upendo, who is legally blind, are living with disabilities that have impeded learning or prevented them from attending school. In these cases, we work with doctors and tutors to provide the girls with the care, resources and tools they need to succeed in school.
When the schools closed due to the pandemic, it created some compounding challenges. Similar to what’s happening in the States, we too, had to take on the responsibility of “homeschooling” here at the Center. I’m sure you can relate to this in some way. And like you, we are pushing through it.
Our Educational Successes
75% of our girls are in the top 25% of their class. That is a HUGE accomplishment based on where they started and the challenges they had to overcome. I’ve seen the hard work the girls, their teachers and tutors, and our staff put in every day. I couldn’t be prouder!
Becoming role models. We recently celebrated Nemoipo passing Tanzania’s National Standard 7 test – a requirement for admission to secondary school. She will be our first student to attend secondary school. Nemoipo worked her way up from almost last in her class to the top half. She has shown the younger girls how to take control of one’s future and to achieve something few people believe they could accomplish. Additionally, we had nine girls pass the National Standard 4 test for primary school.
Educating more girls. We started 2020 with 6 students in preschool, 24 in primary school, and 1 in secondary school. We finished the school year with 4 in preschool, 45 in primary, 1 in secondary, and 8 girls who will be starting school in January 2021.
Being more efficient without sacrificing quality. We have created a new education tracking system.This new process will help us track each girls’ learning progressions and issues, educational goals, and academic achievements. In addition, we hired a full-time, local tutor and mentor to help the girls reach their full potential.
Our Education Goals for 2021
- To build on last year’s success, and to see the girls reach the top 15% in their respective classes – a 30% improvement from 2020.
- To provide every girl the academic resources and tools needed to pass the National Standard tests.
- To assist the girls who have never attended school to achieve the highest possible grade needed to enroll in a mainstream class. We would start with sending them to Memqua school for a class placement evaluation because sometimes, a girl who has never attended school before may be able to start several grades ahead.
- To hire one or two social workers to evaluate all the girls, and to counsel the girls on life skills, FGM, and sex education. We currently have 15 girls who have been through extremely abusive situations and suffer from severe trauma – they require daily counseling.
It doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger. This has been an amazing yet challenging year. I’m pleased to have seen many of the girls achieve academic success. Their success has empowered them to strive for more and take control of their futures. From my Thanksgiving post, one of the things that keeps me true to the MGRC vision is witnessing the real, tangible proof that our mission is working. I feel incredibly blessed to be doing this work and couldn’t do it without your support. 2020 has been a tough year all around but there is still a lot of work to be done. This year for our annual holiday fundraiser, we are raising money to cover the base costs to educate all MGRC school-aged girls for the 2021 school year. Can you help us with our mission? Donate now.