Visiting Speakers Help Our Girls Think About the Future

By Merritt Frey, Executive Director

At this time of year there is just so much going on at Mali Rising schools that it is hard to keep everyone up to date on all the news. Year-end exams and summer are rushing at our students, just like they are here in the United States. But I wanted to share just a little peek at something powerful girls involved with our Girls Project have been up to -- meeting with career women in Mali to explore options for their future.

Last month, girls in our three pilot villages met with women in two very different careers, united by the common theme of service -- medicine and police work. Each school had a visit from Hawa Traoré, a nurse, and Hawa Konaté Marshal and Coumba Samaké, two Chief Warrant Officers.

Our girls had a chance to talk with the women both about the practicalities of their career (what did they study? how did they prepare?) and the realities of being a working woman in Mali. The girls also had a good briefing in women's health issues from nurse Traoré and took advantage of the chance to ask some probing health questions.

This was all part of April's theme for the Girls Groups: "dream for your future and set your goals." Our Girls Project Coordinator Hindaty says the visit from career women helped the girls understand what they have to do to reach real goals. "They understood that they cannot simply only say I want to be a doctor or work in the police without some effort. For example, they need to be able to answer questions like: What degree is required to be a doctor or a constable? What are the subjects taught at the school of health? What training is required to join the police?"

These visits from career women open up girls' minds to futures they might never have considered -- a life-changing moment for many. Thank you to all the supporters of the Girls Project who make this important work possible. You are part of opening girls' minds to the possibilities that education offers -- and that's no small thing!