Why girls are so important
Lelo has a sister, every bit as bright as her. When I met her we were both in our 18th year, but while I had just finished my A-Levels, with a university degree to follow, her family had run out of money to pay her school fees and she had none of the opportunities that come with graduation.
She became an unskilled labourer, working unhappily as a cleaner. A couple of years later she was pregnant, and soon the family was unable to benefit from even her small income, as she had to stay home to raise her child.
Then she had another. Two beautiful daughters who she won’t be able to afford to educate. And so the cycle of poverty begins again.
But go back to her as a teenager – bright, spunky, thirsty for education – and imagine how different things would be if she could have only stayed in school. Engaged with her education, educated on safe sex, and graduating with a full school diploma.
Maybe she’d have won a scholarship to university, maybe she wouldn’t. But, either way, she’d have been able to get an entry-level office job, with a sustainable pay cheque, career development opportunities and an income to support her family.
Over time, she’d have been able to improve their living conditions, they would never have gone without food, and when she decided she was ready to start a family, she could have felt confident that she could educate her children – perhaps to a higher level than she enjoyed herself, so that with every new generation the field of opportunity grew wider.
Say nothing of the economic outcomes of having a more productive workforce and positive female role models in the community.
The Girl Effect have created a couple of fantastic videos, that describe this cycle perfectly. Please take five minutes to watch them.
If you’re anything like me, they might just change your life.
All pictures by GirlEffect.org
CLICK HERE TO MAKE A PLEDGE