The transforming power of education
What single thing can you do to reduce infant mortality, combat poverty and prevent disease?
Research shows that investing in girls’ education is crucial. But in Uganda, fewer than one in five girls makes it to secondary school, forced to drop out early because of poverty, discrimination or pregnancy.
When Halima was 11, she became ill and stopped going to school.
She and her mother already knew about loss. Her father died when she was little, and her mother sold snacks on the street to pay for rent and food – and medicine when she could. There was nothing left over for school.
Halima started plaiting hair to earn a few shillings. Life was hard, and the future looked no different.
But sometimes friends can be a lifeline. Halima’s friend Stella was attending a Creative Learning Centre, run by Viva’s partner network, CRANE, and her enthusiasm for it was contagious. Inspired, Halima asked if she could enrol as well.
Staff at the CLC have seen her thrive in the supportive, stimulating environment. With help from CLC mentors, her mother set up a small business to support her daughter’s education.
Halima has now progressed to mainstream school where she is working hard to make her dream of becoming a lawyer a reality. The girl who plaited hair at the roadside has found her voice, and wants to use it to help others.
Halima’s life has been transformed, but she’s just one of 4,000 girls being helped in this way by CRANE and its 120 member organisations. It’s this sheer scale that makes the ambitious change they seek possible. Through collective action, a network can achieve much more than just one organisation.
Viva’s big dream in Kampala is to see a city where girls are in school, learning, thriving, and able to contribute to society.
More information on how educating girls helps to reduce infant mortality, combat poverty and prevent the spread of disease can be found in the Population Reference Bureau’s ‘Effect of Girls’ Education on Health Outcomes’ factsheet and in the World Bank article on its ‘Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity’ report.