Uneducated women live a limited life. They have few personal choices about marriage, the number of children they will have and how their family will spend its money. Education for girls is a key element in fighting hunger and poverty.
Due to their marginalized status in many areas of the world, women’s movements are often restricted to the home, and they are not welcome to participate in making personal or community decisions. Their husbands dictate their lives. Their lack of education coupled with their low status severely limits income-generating opportunities. Moreover, their social subordination places them at a high risk for domestic violence, and if they become widows or their marriage ends, trafficking.
People in many places still believe spending money on sending a girl to school is pointless. And if she is lucky enough to get to go, when income is limited, the family often will stop her schooling in favor of spending the money on her brothers’ school fees. When half of the population isn’t fulfilling its potential, the entire community suffers.
Education for Girls Changes Women’s Lives
Basic education for girls changes their lives. The Strey Tbong Pich women’s group in Cambodia has learned to read and write thanks to training through a Heifer International project. They can now learn about sanitation and nutrition, keep financial records and have access to more income-generating opportunities.
“Before joining the group and attending the literacy class, our family had never drunk boiled water,” said 37-year-old Kan Nai Ky from the Strey Tbong Pich women’s group. “Our house was not hygienic, as we had never cared about waste around our house, and there was no sanitation inside the house. Since studying the literacy book on improving the environment, we know the importance of good hygiene, sanitation and the environment. Now we always boil the water before drinking.”
Imagine if these women had learned to read when they were girls. What different lives might they have led?
One of our newest items in the Heifer International Gift Catalog is Send a Girl to School. The gift provides a family in need with training and livestock so they can earn the income they need to pay for their daughter’s school fees and supplies. Education for girls is one of the surest ways to break the cycle of poverty and dependence in a community.
Universal Children’s Day is Today
Celebrate this Universal Children’s Day by changing the future for a girl. This holiday, created in 1954 by the United Nations, works to benefit the interests of children by limiting long-work hours and increasing access to education.
This Universal Children’s Day, help provide education for girls by giving now. Your holiday gift for a loved one can truly transform the lives of others.
This post is part of our What to Give series, where we’re helping you choose the best Heifer gift for your loved ones. Read previous What to Give posts here, and subscribe to the What to Give series here.
Still don’t know what to give? Check out our entire online Gift Catalog.