Now that I go to school, I see things differently. My family sees things differently too; they think I will be important for others one day. When I graduate from school, I plan to have a small clothing business that I will be able to manage on my own with confidence.
– Micheline, Age 17, Secondary School Grade 1
As you may know when we selected adolescent girls for the the Courage in Congo Project back in 2015, we worked with out-of-school girls because they were likely to be more isolated from opportunities and resources than girls in school. One day, when discussing options for the girls post project with them, we learned loud and clear that almost all (31 of the 35) wanted a second chance at education. They wanted to go back to school. It is worth highlighting that this was a brave step for each of them. Some are raising young children, some have only completed just a few years of education which means starting in the first or second grade, and others have families that don’t believe that they should or can succeed in school. Several amazing donors stepped up to support the girls, and our local project partner CAMME, along with our project assistant Feza are the coordination team on the ground. Today, 26 of these young women have been enrolled in school since August 2016.
This is a truly life-changing opportunity for the girls: It is hugely important not only for their own lives but for their families and future generations:
- Research in low and middle income countries has shown that for every additional year of school, boys and girls have 5-15% higher earnings, with higher returns for girls. There is an amazing ripple effect that occurs when women and girls are educated.
- School is a place where girls can improve their economic prospects, have better access to healthcare and social support and are likely to experience better maternal and child health outcomes.
- Research has also shown that women and girls are more likely to invest their income in their families than boys and men. Women and girls invest 90% of their income into their families as opposed to boys and men who invest 35%.
In the words of Roseline, one of the girls who has returned back to school:
I used to have no idea about what I would do in the future; it was bad. Since starting my studies, I feel that I am becoming more intelligent and understanding myself better.
– Roseline, Age 19, Secondary School Grade 2