For so many children and parents in Australia, the next couple of weeks are full of excitement, anticipation, and preparations.
It’s back to school time.
For lots of kids it will be their very first day at school – a huge milestone. It’s the beginning of a journey that will take them over a decade. For any kid starting school – their life is about to change forever.
Now their days will be spent in a classroom. Surrounded by their peers. Being taught how to read, how to write, and how to add and subtract. But they’ll be taught more than that – they’ll learn to think, to reason, to be critical, and to be creative.
We might take this journey for granted, but it’s one that many girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda only dream of.
In Sierra Leone, only 1 in 6 girls ever makes it to high school. A girl born in Sierra Leone is more likely to be sold as a child bride than she is to attend high school – let alone make it to her Graduation day.
But we can change this reality for girls. At One Girl, we’ve provided education scholarships to over 300 girls across Sierra Leone and Uganda.
We target some of the most vulnerable girls in communities, who have been forced to drop out of school. Girls who show incredible academic potential – but have been forced out due to their circumstances.
Many of our scholarship girls are orphans, having lost one or both parents. Our scholars live in poverty – working hard to scrape together a living, or else ending up on the streets. Some girls have been forced out due to child marriage, or teen pregnancy.
All of our scholarship girls have experienced hardship and trauma at some stage in their life – but there is one thing that unites them all: an unshakeable desire to go back to school. It’s what they want, more than anything else.
The day that our scholars are told they’ll be going back to school is one they never forget. On their first day back to school, they’re bursting with excitement. They can’t wait to put on that new uniform. Carefully pack their school bag. And walk into school knowing they will be able to learn again.
Their happiness is all the more intense because education was once taken away from them.
And now that they have the opportunity to be back in school – they treasure it more than ever.
Mariatu A. says, “They [the One Girl Sierra Leone team] told me, since you are determined to go back to school, we will make your dreams come true! With anything in life, you should be determined. If you’re determined, nothing can stop you.”
Fatmata says, “I felt very happy the day they told me I could go back to school. I’ll work so hard, I’ll be a hardworking girl so I can succeed and be better.”
Jessinta says, “On my first day back, I was so excited, because I was once a drop-out and then I became a scholar and I could go back to school! I was very happy because I knew that my future would be successful.”
Mariatu K. says, “On the day I found out about my scholarship, I felt so happy. Then I got my school books, bags, and my uniform too. When I put my uniform on, I felt so happy!”
Getting these girls – and our 300 other scholars – back in school is the first, important step. But the next step is keeping them there.
We’re committed to supporting our scholars throughout their education journey – from their first day back, all the way through to another huge milestone – their Graduation Day.
But we can’t do it alone. That’s where ‘Graduation’, our regular giving program, comes in.
When you become a Member of Graduation – you’re standing with us in our commitment to educating girls, and supporting them through school. From start, to finish.
As a Member of Graduation, you’ll give monthly to ensure our scholarship girls have everything they need to succeed at every step of their education journey. Books, bags, uniforms, school fees, exam fees, stationery sets and more.
Just as so many parents here are committed to packing lunches, making countless trips to and from school, tracking down every last item on the school book list and more – we’re committed to supporting our scholarship girls from the first day back, to the last day – their Graduation day.
Are you with us?