During this year’s Global Action Week, sponsored by the Global Campaign for Education, School Girls Unite split up to speak with Members of Congress and Senators. One team met with Representatives Becerra and Van Holling (yes! met with them in person!), and the other met with staffers from Senators Collins, Mikulski, and Cardin’s offices. They all met to speak about the Education For All Act, a bill “that seeks to ensure that U.S. policy contribute to a successful international effort to provide all children with a quality basic education by assisting other countries, NGOs, and multilateral organizations, as well as promoting education as the foundation for community development.”
The meetings went well, the Representatives and staffers all responded positively. Hopefully education for all can become a reality!
Our sister organization in Mali announces new officers!
LA PRESIDENTE : FATOUMATA COULIBALY
LA SECRETAIRE GENERALE : MAIMOUNA KAMISSOKO
LA TRESORIERE : KOUMBA SANGARE
LA SECRETAIRE à L’INFORMATION : JEANNE KAMATE
One of the officers received a School Girls Unite scholarship to complete secondary school!
Les Filles Unies pour l’Education recently heard the girls who receive School Girls Unite scholarships talk about the difficulty studying at night in the dark. These incredible Malian leaders came up with a solution and School Girls Unite approved using our scholarship Fund to buy «torches» or lanterns and here are some photos. Please consider making a donation through Just Give to help us with this new expense.
In October 2012, middle schooler and member of School Girls Unite, Misbah Farooqi wrote a letter to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She wrote for the International Day of the Girl, and asked Secretary Clinton to "do everything possible to increase the number of programs to prevent girls from becoming brides around the world."
Secretary Clinton then responded! In January 2013, Misbah received a letter from the Secretary, thanking SGU for its work, and sharing her passion for girls' rights.
Read the letters for yourself below!
When members of Filles Unies visited the scholarship girls in Mali, they also answered a few questions! Check out this Q&A!
LA REPONSE DES FILLES UNIES POUR SCHOOL GIRLS UNITE SUR LES FILLES PARAINNEES :
What does it mean to abandon school?
«Abandonné» means a student stops going to school and there are many reasons. «Exclue» is for girls who had to repeat a grade three times and they stop going to school. In these villages, the parents are very poor. Besides not having money to pay the school fees, a major reason is girls do not go to school or drop out is their parents need to do domestic work (chores). Parents do not follow their daughters’ studies and the girls fail classes. Parents also are afraid their daughters might get pregnant (which is a major reason for early marriage).
With the new year, we'd like to update you on Les Filles Unies du Mali, and the scholarship girls! Members of Les Filles Unies, our sister chapter in Mali, recently visited some of the villages where 18 secondary and 35 primary students live, and caught up with them.
Nom : Maimouna Coulibaly
This is what Howard County School Girls Unite members presented at the Day of the Girl event at the Maryland Women's Heritage Center in Baltimore, MD on October 13, 2012!
Today… My name is Chantou and I am a 10-year-old Cambodian orphan. I want to go to school, but I must spend my days digging through trash to find food to eat and things to sell.
Tomorrow… My name is Chantou and I am 15-years-old. An aid agency has found me an orphanage and I am now able to go to school. My dream is to be a social worker and help keep kids like me off the streets.
A group of School Girls went to the Howard County Board of Education recently to receive the new Day of the Girl Proclamation, which reflects out efforts from the last year. A one page flyer was given to all the Board members, as well as the School Superintendent (a woman who used to work for the Howard County police department!), which listed all sorts of activities we have done and plan to do. We also received a Day of the Girl Proclamation that recognizes Governor O'Malley's declaration of October 11, 2012 as the Maryland Day of the Year!
Bintou Soumaoro is the President of School Girls Unite's sister organization in Mali; Les Filles Unies pour l'Education du Mali
Concept of Congress & Theme
Held every two years since 1999, the World Youth Congress of Peace Child International examines the constructive input of young people in building a culture of peace, supporting good governance, and respecting the environment with a view to "Be The Change," the slogan of Peace Child. Out of 350 delegates, I was selected as the only delegate to represent Mali and our association, Les Filles Unies pour L’Education.
Remember the Day of the Girl? This year, it falls on October 11th, (10.11.12 for short! How cool!), and School Girls Unite members are already gearing up in preparation! Read all about their work so far in this Day of the Girl blog post! Keep up the enthusiasm, everyone!
Above, students in Howard County, Maryland, work on mailings to send to other schools throughout Maryland, to raise awareness for the Day of the Girl!
Bintou Soumaoro, president of Les Filles Unies pour l’Education, has shared lots of news over the past weeks since the coup d’etat in Mali. Here are a few updates that have been translated from French. It’s clear our sister organization is forging ahead, regardless of the uncertainty and instability in Bamako, as well as in Timbuktu and other areas in northern Mali that have been taken over by rebels.
Our Girls Scholarship Program: Les Filles Unies plans to organize “un jour pour sensibilisation in Ouolodo.” This awareness day in the villages will be a community discussion about the importance and impact of children and sounds very smart! We are very concerned that so many teachers do not care about their students and education. Basic education is the most important opportunity a girl could ever have!