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CTL Scholars celebrate International Day of the Girl by encouraging peers to return to school

Posted Thu Oct 16, 2014 by Tara Stafford

Last week, on October 11th, girls and boys, women and men across the globe came together to celebrate International Day of the Girl, a day dedicated to raising awareness for issues relating to gender inequality. In honor of this day, CTL Scholars in Mayange, Rwanda and their facilitators/teachers organized an event to encourage their peers who have dropped out of school to return and complete their secondary education. The event involved several of the CTL Scholars visiting the homes of two girls who had recently dropped out of school because their (single) mothers could not support them with the school supplies necessary for attending school.

To overcome this barrier, the Scholars came prepared with book bags, shoes for the girls' uniforms, exercise books and pencils, soap, and other items. The girls and their mothers were thrilled to receive these items. After presenting the girls with the supplies, the girls enjoyed playing ball together while the CTL Facilitators spoke with the mothers. By the end of the two visits, the girls and their mothers had confirmed that the girls would return to school at the start of the new school year in January. The CTL Scholars and their Facilitators plan to check in with the girls in the interim to ensure that they follow through.

When the Scholars returned after their visits, they joined their Facilitators and parents for a workshop focused on exploring child rights, including the right to an education, and discussing challenges in their community that lead to school dropout. After brainstorming possible solutions to this challenge, the parents decided to start a cooperative savings effort whereby the parents who are able will contribute 100 Rwandan Francs to a fund that can be accessed in cases where a child is faced with dropout due to her or his family's lack of funds.

Each year of additional schooling can add 10 percent to a girl's future earnings. UNESCO estimates that in Africa, 1.8 million children's lives could be saved if their mothers had at least a secondary education. With the recent news of Malala Yousafzai winning the Nobel Peace Prize, it is clear that the time is now to ensure all girls have a chance to receive a quality education, and that the voices of girls from Rwanda to Pakistan and across the world can make it happen. CTL is proud of these efforts made by the CTL Scholars and their communities, and looks forward to continuing to provide support to help ensure that these community-driven solutions are implemented successfully so that all girls can complete their secondary education.