Monday, March 07, 2011

Girls Learn International

An organization based in the US helps to improve access to education for girls around the world. Girls Learn International raises money to send girls to school in countries such as Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan and others. Girls Learn also educates girls in the states to become advocates for girls around the world.

From the Huffington Post, writer Amy Lee profiles Girls Learn International.

Here in the U.S., Jordana Confino, co-founder of Girls Learn International, is working to make that number shrink. Jordana, a junior at Yale University, started the organization with her mother in 2003 -- when she was still in the eighth grade. Her mother, who'd just gone back to school to take classes about women's rights, talked to Jordana about the stories on sex trafficking, child marriage, and other human rights issues that flooded the news.

"We realized that one of the key things in all these places was that girls weren't allowed to go to school," said Jordana. "If they had the opportunity to get an education, it could help curtail these violations."

She and her mother realized that there had to be something they could do. In 2003, Jordana started the first Girls Learn chapter in her middle school. Her sister and her cousin shortly followed suit.

For the millions of girls across the world who lack access to education, often due to extreme poverty, illiteracy rates are unsurprisingly high. Girls Learn takes the stance, which is backed by research, that without schooling, girls are put at a greater risk to remain trapped in the cycle of poverty, and become more vulnerable to child marriage, sex trafficking, domestic violence, and other women's rights violation.

"Initially, the first year, we were just fundraising," Jordana said. But since then, GLI has not only raised over $140,000 to help send girls to schools, they have also opened 60 chapters in the U.S. and partnered with 31 schools abroad to reach their goals.

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