Name of Your Cause
AfricAid is a 9-year-old nonprofit whose mission is to support girls’ education in Africa in order to provide young women with the opportunity to transform their own lives and improve the futures of their communities.
AfricAid provides scholarships and other educational opportunities for girls who might not otherwise be able to attend school, and through its teacher training, vocational training and leadership training programs, gives them the tools with which to make the most of their education, as well as the opportunity to create and lead their own community-based service, leadership and mentorship initiatives.
The One Very Best Thing About Your Cause
In the words of an old rock song, school’s out for the summer here in the US. But in Tanzania, school’s out FOREVER for hundreds of thousands of young women. Only 5% of girls there actually finish high school, primarily because they don’t have enough money to do so. And, when forced to choose, parents generally send their sons to school instead of daughters, as there is not yet a broad cultural awareness of the value of education for girls.
In addition, there is often overt gender discrimination in teaching and learning– girls are generally not taught to believe they can achieve what men can, and rarely have access to mentors or role models to show them otherwise.
Even getting to school can be a significant challenge, as girls can be at risk of experiencing sexual harassment and even rape en route, and long distances between home and school are not uncommon in rural areas.
Yet, the benefits of girls’ education are well-documented. For example, educated girls are three times less likely to contract HIV/AIDS; the children of African mothers with five years of education have a 40% better chance of living to age five; and an extra year of secondary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 20-25%.
Unfortunately, despite these demonstrable benefits, the dominant cultural norms for girls in Tanzania are so deeply ingrained at a young age that girls themselves begin to believe their only course in life is to marry young and raise a family.
To help break this cycle, AfricAid’s newest program, the Kisa Project, provides scholarships to young Tanzanian women who might otherwise not have the opportunity to finish their secondary education. At the same time, Kisa provides them with a two-year leadership training program that runs concurrently with their schooling, and that is designed to give girls the tools they will need later in life, including vital life skills such as AIDS prevention, and help develop their leadership and entrepreneurial potential.
The two-year program is followed by a six-month period, during which they implement a community project and provide mentorship to other young girls in the life skills they have learned, thus becoming catalysts of change for a better future.
The girls also communicate with sponsors here in the US through the Facebook-like Kisa website (www.kisaproject.org) that enables meaningful, real-time cross-cultural exchanges that help to form real relationships and promote a better understanding of each other’s lives.
- 1- The average Tanzanian earns just $400 a year, so every dollar makes a big difference, and everyone can help.
- 2- Volunteers for AfricAid are always needed and appreciated! From event planning to office work to technical skills, you can help!
- 3- Start an AfricAid Club at your school, or start or join a Kisa Village to help sponsor a girl for the Kisa program.
- 4- Help AfricAid raise money for girls’ education. Just $100 will provide textbooks for an entire classroom, $500 will fund a girl’s scholarship, and $5,000 will outfit a computer lab for a school.
- 6- Go to www.africaid.com to learn more about
Why My Cause Is So Important
I have seen first-hand over the years the power that an education, which we often take for granted here in the US, has to positively transform the lives of young girls in Africa. I hope that others will join me in giving young women the chance to live their own lives and create their own futures.
How I Got Involved With My Cause
When I was 11, I visited Tanzania and saw the overwhelming poverty in which so many young Africans live and the enormous educational needs that exist there. I came home determined to find a way to help give young African girls their own educational opportunities, and formed AfricAid when I was 16.