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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to school in Africa!

When you educate a girl in Africa, everything changes...
She’ll be three times less likely to get HIV/AIDS, earn 25 percent more income and have a smaller, healthier family.

Dear Blog Reader,

This September, like pupils in the UK, secondary school girls in Africa are looking forward to going back to school. But unable to afford even $10 of school materials, many will have no choice but to drop out of school. At Camfed, we work to solve this problem by providing girls from poor families with secondary school bursaries, which include books, stationary, uniforms and more.

Cynthia, from the Chikomba district in Zimbabwe, is one such pupil we are working with. Her mother couldn’t afford to pay her school-going costs. Instead of starting secondary school with her peers, Cynthia stayed home. “I was devastated,” she says. “I feared my education was finished, and my dreams were dead.”

But with the generosity of Camfed’s donors, Cynthia’s future changed. “One day, the headmaster told me that Camfed offered bursaries for girls who were struggling financially, and that he had recommended me. He said all of my school costs would be covered until I finished secondary school — fees, uniforms, books, all of it. You can’t imagine the joy and relief I felt! It was incredible.”

Cynthia completed secondary school and is now enrolled in Camfed’s leadership and enterprise programme. “I’m proud of myself,” she says. “My goal of being a successful businesswoman is within my reach!”

In Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Ghana, Camfed is supporting thousands of girls like Cynthia. Will you help one or more girls go to school? Visit to help. Your action will change her life.
Thank you so much,

Ann Cotton

Executive Director

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why Educate an African Girl?

Having been born and raised in Africa there is so much injustice I have witnessed in the lives of girls and women around me.  Culturally, women play a secondary role to men.  As a young girl I quickly became weary and intolerant of the chauvinism around me. 
In the late '90's my cousin's husband passed away leaving behind four small children.  While I was too young to understand, I do recall discussions around my cousin's in-laws kicking her out of her matrimonial home and taking everything they claimed to belong to their late son.  She ended up living with her sister for three years before her case was finally resolved in court.  Her in-laws were awarded one third and she, the remaining two thirds.  My cousin's son, who went to court with his mother for the verdict, told my mother that his grandmother had cried openly in court because she was disappointment by the verdict; and I remember thinking at the time what kind of monster grandparents would put their grandchildren out on the streets just because they despised their mother??

Tashanda likes...
I Have a Story to Tell: Celebrating Ten Years of CAMFED International
This powerful book centers on the theme of the education of girls in Africa, tackling the poverty that excludes them from it, and the opportunities and improvements in health and employment that can be its consequence.

Tashanda LOVES this documentary... A MUST WATCH...

There are many more injustices I could share.  In fact, what I have presented you is just a tip of the iceberg.  I think sometimes it happens so much that it becomes the norm and one fails to see the situation for what it is.  A good friend of mine argues that one of the reasons for the spread of HIV and "small households" (mistresses & their children) is that there are no consequences for the male in the relationship.  In Africa, when a man cheats, their women tend to stay because they are not sufficiently empowered to make it on their own, they don't know their rights, and they fear the stigma of being a divorcee.  In America when a man cheats there are consequences.  You can get a lawyer and sue him, you can leave him, and you can take his money.  This is why it is important to educate an African girl.  If you educate a girl, you feed a nation, but if you educate a man (as is the case generally in Africa and other developing countries) you feed his stomach.