There are a total of 7 women teachers in the Mali rising Foundation schools, out of more than 90 total Mali Rising teachers. This reflects the larger reality of teaching in Mali, where only 14% of teachers are female and that percentage is even lower in remote, rural schools…
My name is Siraba. I am in grade 9 at Beneko's Cliff and Nita Bailey Middle School….When I started middle school two years ago it was also the beginning of the Girls Project. Thanks to the different activities of the Girl Project, such as monthly meetings on different themes, the menstrual cycle, the meeting with women of different skills (women nurses, engineers), the women's football competition, advice and talks, etc., I started to set goals. Little by little, I started to love school.
For so many girls, trouble with shyness begins with family education and continues in school. Girls in Mali, especially in small, rural villages, continue to be unfairly discriminated against because of their sex. They are deprived of school simply because they are born girls. According to the parents in the villages their schooling is of no importance because their destiny is to be married young and to take care of household chores and children. During Mali Rising's teacher training for capacity building in December, a day was devoted solely to gender, with a theme of "Shyness of girls and gender equity in school settings.”
Mali Rising Foundation is trying something new to make sure our Girls Project is sustainable — micro-finance loans through our Mothers’ Loan Fund. With this new micro-finance project, more than 30 mothers in our three pilot villages will benefit from credit to finance their small businesses.
One of the very best days of our recent trip was without a doubt the day of the big soccer match between the Beneko Birds and the Simidji Girls. These two village teams are made up of members of our Girls Groups in two of our three pilot villages for the Girls Project. Sports, and soccer in particular, are an important part of the Project — building grit and resiliency in our girls. And oh my is it working.
We love gritty girls. Gritty, you say? Yes! Grit, leadership skills, teamwork abilities, and self-confidence are critical traits for strong kids. These traits are especially important for girls in Mali, who must overcome many obstacles to get the education they deserve. Thanks to our donors, we support the development of all these traits through participation with our new girls' soccer teams. Check out this blog post for news and photos from the first-ever, inter-school Mali Rising soccer match!
Here at Mali Rising, we love Girl Scouts. Last year, we partnered with a troop based near our Utah office. We connected that troop with one of our Girls Groups at our school in Kolimba, Mali and the troop sent colorful, thoughtful letters of encouragement to the girls in Mali. At that troop meeting last year, we discussed various barriers to girls' education in Mali. One scout -- Skyler Dey -- took that discussion to heart. She decided to focus on a solution to one of those barriers -- a lack of supplies for managing girls' periods.