I’m about to hit a major milestone. No, I don’t mean sending my first child off to Kindergarten this week. This milestone is mine alone. Next month, I’m planning to pay off my final student loan. As a woman who was fortunate enough to be able to put myself through college and earn the degree I wanted, it’s not lost on me that barriers to girls’ education exist in many places throughout the world.
It’s my own personal belief that the future of the peace and prosperity of the world lies in the hands of women who have access to education, but for an estimated 31 million girls around the world, school is nothing but a dream. I’m proud to be working to spread the word about CARE, a global humanitarian organization that fights poverty by empowering girls and women. CARE is working to remove the barriers to education that are keeping millions of children who are hungry to learn away from school.
A few very sobering statistics about girls and education:
- Keeping girls out of school sentences them to a life of poverty and poor health
- Women earn 10-20% more for every year of school completed – Children of educated mothers are 2x as likely to go to school
- Children born to literate moms are 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.
A very minimal donation is all it takes to make a huge difference in the life of a girl who is hungry to learn, but sometimes it’s helpful to hear a personal story.
I’d like to introduce you to Laxmi.
Laxmi Pal is not only creating art, she’s creating history. The 12-year-old grew up in a tiny thatched-roof hut made of dried mud in Kodanna village, believing that she didn’t belong in school. Often seen as outsiders, girls in this rural farming village of 90 families do housework and look after their younger siblings until they marry and move out at around age 14. Being the oldest of five kids, the burden fell on Laxmi’s shoulders. She’d spend her days home alone with her brothers and sisters, feeling sad and entrapped, while her mother was away cleaning houses and her father struggled to find seasonal work on farms. Laxmi broke that tradition on July 15 when she set foot in a classroom for the first time, becoming the only member in her immediate family to ever go to school.
Laxmi’s dream is to become a teacher, but she has continued to experience setbacks. Her home collapsed in a flood and she was nearly killed, but now she is under the care of her uncle, one of the only men in her village to support the idea that girls should receive a full education. His own daughter graduated from the CARE-supported Udaan residential school in Hardoi, and he has vowed to help Laxmi do the same. The effects of CARE just keep growing.
See more of Laxmi’s story here:
How Can You Help?
You can help by purchasing a Gift of Lasting Change for their family and friends, and spreading the word! Brose CARE’s catalog of back-to-school gifts for friends and family and support girls’ education around the world. You will be supporting CARE’s work to promote girls’ education
CARE is committed to its mission to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. CARE seeks a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has bene overcome and people live in dignity and security. For me, the best part about CARE is their work to facilitate lasting change by strengthening the capacity for self-help. It’s the old “teach a person to fish” idea, and it’s the best thing anyone can do.
Just a Small Donation Makes a Difference
A few of the gifts you can give:
- $10 cash donation
- 2 chickens ($24)
- 1 goat ($45)
- 3 school bags ($30)
- flowers for school gardens ($35)
- English dictionary ($26)
I hope you’ll visit CARE to see the rest of the back to school gifts you can give, and learn a little more about the work they’re doing to help the women of the world reach their fullest potential. I’ll be sending a gift to celebrate my upcoming milestone in the hope of helping another woman reach her own.