Transforming lives in Ethiopia

Education is her right

Reading time: 2 min

Girls' education is their fundamental right.

However, many girls in Ethiopia are missing out. Child marriage rates – which remain amongst the highest in the world, low incomes, civil unrest and lack of period pads all play a part in preventing girls from accessing their education and their true futures. There is still a preference to favour sending boys to school and girls are often faced with the burden of household chores; collecting water, cooking meals and tending younger children.

With small interventions, our partners are helping girls like Kalkidan, Birhan and Adanech to keep learning, from primary school through to further education. Here’s how.

A good primary education is the first step in a girl’s journey.

A girl standing in a playground, in her blue school uniform.

Kalkidan’s mother struggled to feed her, let alone pay school fees. But our partner’s nearby primary school offered the support they so desperately needed. Kalkidan receives free school meals at breakfast and lunch which enables her to concentrate on learning. She loves learning and being in the playground with her friends.
“I have no words to express what this project has done in my life and I hope that it continues to support less privileged children like me.”

Period packs mean girls don’t have to miss out.

A girl wearing a pink jumper, holding a reusable period pad and smiling at the camera.

Birhan is determined girls should not have to miss school because of their period.

“I was 13 years old when my period first started. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I told my favourite teacher because I was in trouble for not going to school for a week. She gave me a free reusable period pack so I can come to school when I’m on my period… After that when I saw a girl on her period with blood on her clothes, I told her what it was and where to get a period pack. I tell everyone and now no one skips class…After school I want to be Prime Minister.”

The confidence to pursue a career.

A girl in mechanics class room, wearing overalls and a black headscard.

Considering further education would simply not have been possible for Adanech, who had to sacrifice school to support her family. However, this all changed after she joined our partner’s vocational training programme. Eager to learn, she enrolled on a mechanical electronics course, where she gained practical and technical skills and the confidence to pursue a career. She is now a 2nd year degree student, and already working in her field. Adanech wants to use her experience to build her own business, providing job opportunities for other young women to support themselves.

We firmly believe that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. Educated girls can make informed decisions about their own lives, their own health, their own futures and can lead change. Education reduces child marriage and breaks the preconceptions of the role of girls and women.

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