International Day of Education & Girls’ Education in Nepal
It’s International Day of Education! As a day meant to focus on the role of education for bringing global peace and sustainable development, we would like to expand further on our mission and awareness-raising efforts to provide safety, education and hope to financially disadvantaged and at-risk girls in Nepal. As stated by UNESCO, “Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.”
Here are a few facts on Nepal:
- 25% of the population in Nepal lives on less than $1.25 per day. (Even for families above that line, quality education can be prohibitively expensive. Gender bias means that, if faced with a terrible choice, parents tend to invest more money in the education of boys.)
- As a result 66% of men can read and write, while only 43% of females can.
- In rural areas, more than 70% of girls have dropped out of school by age 16.
- 10,000-15,000 girls are trafficked each year in Nepal.
- 30% of girls are engaged in child labor.
- In rural areas, 2 in 5 girls are married by age 14.
In the words of our own Little Sisters:
“Women are less educated than men in Nepal. It is not because women do not read, but because they were not allowed to read. Women are discriminated in every sector of national life. They are not given equal opportunities in politics, education and other fields. Women are not as free as men.”
– Aakancha, grade 10
“Without the support of the Little Sisters Fund, I could be married right now.” – Nikita, age 17
Education protects economically disadvantaged girls from child trafficking, child marriage, and child labor. Through our supplemental mentoring and health programs, we deliver the multi-dimensional support that ensures girls thrive through the end of school and beyond. We do this because we believe that educated, empowered, and independent women, in turn, transform their communities from the inside out. We have seen over the past 21 years how education can completely change a girls’ life, future opportunities, and have a lasting ripple effect on other girls.
We are proud that 98% of Little Sisters continue year on year in the program and with their studies. In comparison, only 56% of poor rural girls complete primary school, and just over 20% complete 9th and 10th grade. We also outperform national test results by multiples compared to national exam results and the Social Welfare Council stated recently that “If the government applied the LSF program to all schools in Nepal, the situation would be changed in five years.”
Many of our Little Sisters have gone on to become nurses, dentists, doctors, teachers, engineers, psychologists, and other empowered professionals. We have helped educate over 2,900 girls and believe with every girl that is educated has the ability to change the world. We are passionate about the power of education and celebrate all that the Little Sisters have accomplished through education.