Little Sisters Fund partners with each girl and her family for her full education (8-12 years). And while half a generation may seem like a long time, we understand that educating a girl breaks the cycle of poverty. Once it’s broken, it’s broken for good.
Little Sisters Fund operates three scholarship programs. Once in a scholarship program, though, all girls receive the same hands-on, high-touch, holistic support through our additional programs. All of our scholarships remove the economic burden on families by covering all school-related costs, including tuition, fees, uniforms, books and supplies. The three avenues to education through Little Sisters Fund are:
Our first program, the Individual Sponsorships fund scholarships at private schools. About 10% of girls receive support from individual sponsors, to whom they write monthly letters. $3,600 covers the complete education of a girl for an average of 10 years.
The core of our work, this community-based program supports scholarships for groups of girls at government and semi-private schools. About 85% of Little Sisters currently receive school scholarships. A gift of $225 can keep a girl safe and in school with all the supplies she needs for a year.
Little Sisters and their families initiated a yearly fundraising program to “pay it forward” by supporting the education of other girls in similar situations. Graduates and friends in Nepal also fund scholarships. About 5% of Little Sisters go to school thanks to local generosity.
Little Sisters Fund partners with 95 schools in 21 districts of Nepal. We work with local school leadership to negotiate reduced tuition, identify girls in need and monitor the progress of girls in the program. LSF covers books, supplies, and uniform costs. We then identify a local program graduate, social worker, or volunteer who can serve as a Coordinating Mentor (CM).
Coordinating Mentors work with community leaders, teachers and school management work together to select girls for the program. Our primary selection criteria are poverty and risk of being trafficked, married early, or exploited in child labor; secondary selection criteria include marginalization due to caste (e.g. Dalits or “untouchables”), disadvantage due to family situation (e.g. orphans, children of single parents), and marginalization due to disability. We also require that the girl genuinely desires an education and her family agrees to cooperate and support their daughter’s education at home.
Once accepted into any scholarship program, a girl’s education is guaranteed through grade 12, provided she meets basic academic and attendance requirements. After grade 12, girls have the necessary skills to stand on their own and support themselves through higher education or technical training.
Coordinating Mentors visit their partner schools to meet with Little Sisters at least once per month and average 2-3 meetings per month. During these visits, Coordinating Mentors check in with each girl regarding her academic performance, home and family situation, and general well-being. Home visits are conducted as needed, for example to discuss issues with parents or check in on a girl who has been missing school. Serious issues are elevated to the level of program management, who also visit schools regularly.
All girls in scholarship programs benefit from benefit from Little Sisters Fund’s holistic approach, with initiatives spanning health, education quality, mentoring, and community support.