Every October 11, we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child to celebrate the progress made, as well as take a long and hard look at how we can address the needs and challenges girls still face. We wanted to share with you 7 ways you can empower girls right now through partnering with Food for the Hungry (FH).
1. Contribute to Girls’ Education
“Extremists have shown what frightens them most: a girl with a book.” – Malala Yousafzai
Girls’ education is a top-ranked social investment. Girls with access to education tend to be healthier, earn higher incomes, and enable better health care and education for their future children. Yet why aren’t 130 million school-aged girls in school right now?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of things working against girls in obtaining an education. Girls between the ages of 10 and 19 are three times more likely to be kept out of school than boys. That’s especially true in countries affected by conflict. It’s not OK that a boy’s education is valued over a girl’s. It’s not OK that girls face societal prejudices like being considered for child marriage over obtaining an education. FH is working hard to empower girls in school. We care about the holistic development and learning of girls.
FH has been supporting girls’ education in South Sudan through a grant since April 2013. This project is developing effective partnerships between the government of South Sudan and local organizations to deliver a community-based school improvement program. This program includes cash transfers to girls and their families to help girls stay in school, as well as the provision of grants and training to schools, teachers, and administrators to improve the quality of education. Many girls are kept from school because their families cannot afford their tuition fees or uniforms. You can help keep a girl in school through funding their education and tuition fees as a part of child sponsorship, and through providing essential educational items such as school uniforms.
Less than half of all girls in Kenya go to secondary school. These teen girls, however, are happy to be continuing their education thanks to donors like you who make FH’s work possible.
2. Help Girls Stand Up for Themselves
“There’s no prerequisites for worthiness. You are born being worthy. And I think that’s a message that a lot of women need to hear.” – Viola Davis
According to the World Bank, “evidence suggests that men who live in poverty or are socially excluded are more at risk of perpetrating violence because they can’t find jobs or earn an income, which can lead to anger, frustration, and violence. Conditions are most extreme in conflict, war-affected, or fragile states where economies have collapsed, whole populations have been displaced, and insecurity prevails.” But it’s not just women who suffer in the developing world. It’s also children.
Because of this, FH works to educate families in the developing world about why domestic violence is unacceptable and to train them to pursue healthy family relationships that permeate every area of life. In Peru, about 33 percent of women report having experienced physical or sexual violence from their partners.
We want all girls to know that they have inherent value because God says so! This is part of our program to teach biblical worldview. By promoting healthy relationships within the family, girls also learn to stand up for themselves and know how they should be treated in future romantic relationships, as well. You can empower girls by providing opportunities for them to learn why they are more than worthy in God’s eyes. Fund FH’s Violence Prevention Program by sponsoring a child!
Lucy volunteers for FH’s Violence Prevention Program. After growing up in a house ruled by domestic violence, she knew she didn’t want that for her family. Thanks to donors like you, she has a way to provide a better family structure and is helping so many other families do the same.
3. Advocate for the Keeping Girls in School Act
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” – Madeleine Albright
Another way that you can empower girls around the world is by using your voice, your signature, and your sphere of influence to make a difference. The Keeping Girls in School Act was introduced earlier this year to the House of the Representatives to “support empowerment, economic security, and educational opportunities for adolescent girls around the world.” This act allows the U.S. government to continue expanding education for adolescent girls worldwide, and to build innovative tools and approaches to accelerate that impact.
You can advocate for girls worldwide by writing your representative through this easy form, urging them to support the Keeping Girls in School Act to make sure this bill passes!
Two girls in the community of Francois in Haiti proudly wear their backpacks in school.
4. Empower Girls by Empowering their Mothers
“The most important thing one woman can do for another is to illuminate and expand her sense of actual possibilities.” – Adrienne Rich
FH is in the business of empowering vulnerable people to raise themselves out of extreme poverty. Women (and children) are at the forefront of this mission. Studies have shown that on average, women reinvest up to 90 percent of their income into the well-being of their family, meaning it often has ripple effects for future generations!
FH partners with women by encouraging them to form literacy and savings groups so that they can learn to read, count and manage money, and start small businesses for extra income. Through Cascade Groups, mothers in the community volunteer as leaders, in order to teach their neighbors and peers about what they learn with FH. This could be about how to raise children in healthy homes, the value of breastfeeding, best sanitation and hygiene practices, and more! This program helps women regain their dignity and pursue a brighter future for their families. You can empower a mom to make a difference in her family by giving here.
Cathy has worked for FH Guatemala since 2010. She speaks fluent Spanish and Ixil and leads Savings Group training sessions for women. In one of the savings group she facilitated, 10 out of 15 of the members were all unmarried, pregnant women. The group has now grown to 19 members!
5. Empower Girls to Pursue their Dreams
“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.” – Erma Bombeck
One way you can encourage a girl to pursue her dreams is by being honest about your own. Lead by example. What are the dreams you had as a child? What are some dreams that God still has put on your heart? In contexts of poverty, it can be overwhelming to think about improving and rising above your circumstances. But dreams, hope, and faith in God can lift up our eyes to see that it’s possible. Many of our girls have big dreams–to become doctors, teachers, policewomen, and to help their families live a better life. If you sponsor a girl, write a letter to her today! Ask about her dreams and tell her about what you hope for your future, too.
A sponsored child in Peru writes their sponsor family during Christmastime.
6. Empower Girls through Girls’ Sanitation and Hygiene Kits
“Women truly only get empowered when there’s a collective of them. You get one woman down in a village trying to break the system. She can’t do it at the village level unless she’s got women around her.” – Melinda Gates
One of the biggest barriers keeping girls from reaching their full potential is the lack of adequate sanitation facilities. Sometimes, latrines don’t have doors where girls can feel safe to do their business. Facilities at schools are often lacking. When girls are on their menstruation cycle, they often stay at home due to the social stigma and high cost of feminine hygiene products. In fact, a UNESCO report estimates that one in ten girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle. In fact, some girls even drop out of school completely once they get their periods.
As a result, FH works hard on the areas of WASH (water, sanitation, and health) to provide sanitation and latrines that are friendly for girls, so they can do their business in private! You can also help fill this gap by providing a year’s supply of menstrual hygiene kits for girls in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Peru.
7. Partner with Girls As They Grow Into Women
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Theresa
If you don’t sponsor a girl child yet, please consider doing so today. Through sponsorship, you can encourage her to stay in school, reach her potential, and to make a difference! There is no better way to empower girls than by giving them a stable environment to grow up in. Through sponsoring a girl, your gift of $38 each month will bring hope and change to her life and community. You’ll be able to get to know her in a 1:1 relationship and assist her entire community to provide food, a better education, clean water and medical treatment to its children.
Will you accept God’s call to stand up for girls today?
A girl in Ethiopia holds a photo from her sponsors.