School, Girls, and Chickens: Celebrating International Day of the Girl

Written by Plant With Purpose on October 11, 2012 in General

By Doug Satre, Development Director

This week, many of us have followed with great sadness the story of the heroic 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban for speaking out for the right girls have to education. Without question, this is one of the most horrible examples of the severe challenges that girls around the world face to develop their God-given gifts and talents. 

Today, with images of Malala in mind, we recognize and celebrate the first-ever International Day of the Girl. But on this historic day, we also remember the millions of girls around the world are quietly facing less violent but no less real obstacles to pursuing an education that will empower them to lift themselves out of poverty. These obstacles include the chronic underfunding of education by corrupt governments, generalized cultural discrimination against girls, early marriage, and the physical distance that must be traveled simply to get to school.

Which Way to School?

The most common obstacle, however, is simply poverty. Parents may sincerely want to send their girls to school, but cannot afford the books, uniforms, and school fees necessary to enroll them and keep them in school. When money runs short, families generally pull their girls out of class first. In rural communities there is the added burden of household chores, such as gathering firewood and collecting water, that tend to fall disproportionately on girls and women.

Overcoming the local barriers to girls’ development won’t happen overnight, but we are encouraged to see the ways the work of Plant With Purpose is impacting girls and their families. 

Wema Sells Her Chicken’s Eggs to Pay for School 

One of these girls is Wema Maziri. Wema lives in the village of Mg’ende, Tanzania, located high in the Pare Mountains. The small community is made of 300 households, who live in great poverty and depend on what little subsistence farming they can produce in the deteriorating hillsides. In Mg’ende, Plant With Purpose has provided chickens (6 hens and one rooster) to Wema and other children who’ve been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. On a visit to Mn’gende, Wema said, “I received 5 chickens,but now I have 12. These chickens produce 18 eggs a week, and I am able to sell each egg for 20 cents.” 

With the money she has earned from chickens, Wema has been able to afford her own school supplies and school uniform. And her ability to stay in school will dramatically improve her future. 

We at Plant With Purpose are proud to celebrate girls’ progress around the world today, and we are grateful for the privilege of helping girls make their dreams a reality.

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