Women and girls in northern Uganda continue to suffer discrimination and reduced opportunities for advancement, despite increased access to primary and secondary education, as the community recovers from the effects of 2 decades of armed conflict.
Current statistics show that girls in Northern Uganda continue to drop out of primary school at higher rates than boys, and less girls continue into high school compared to boys. Rates of illiteracy continue to show disparities between boys and girls, with 30% boys and 51% of girls aged 10-17 considered to be illiterate.
The main reasons why girls drop out of school at higher rates than boys are lack of finances, parental decision, teenage pregnancy, shame of menstruation, and the need to work at home or in agriculture.
‘When you educate a mother, you educate a nation.’ Supporting education for girls and female adolescents have wide-ranging benefits. Research has continued to show that higher educational attainment can be associated with a range of economic successes, including better income, employment, as well as better health for both the individual and their family.
Redressing the gender imbalance and cultural unfairness is also a critical benefit of girl-child education. With increasing cases of alcohol abuse and neglect of families by the men, empowering the girls and women is essential to household stability and future of the children.
Supporting the development of skilled girls in the fields of nursing and teaching in particular, will also have positive implications for the community.
Child sponsorship through the Irene Gleeson Foundation helps provide quality education for the girlchild from Primary 1 to Primary 7, in line with the Uganda curriculum. The girl-child also receives 2 nutritious meals of breakfast and lunch every school day, medical care in the school clinic, access to clean water, counseling and menstrual kits for the adolescent girls.
Once the girl-children completes Primary 7, they enroll for technical education to learn life-skills training in Tailoring, Carpentry, Bricklaying or Motor Vehicle mechanics. The top performing pupils earn scholarship into Secondary school for 4 years of High School education.
At this level, career guidance, business ethics, mentorship and other life-skills training is provided to prepare them for tertiary education.
While the girls admitted into Technical and Vocational education graduate and either start their own businesses, or get employment, the academically gifted girls are provided with opportunity for professional training in Nursing, Teaching, Accounting, Midwifery, Fashion and Designing.
Both vocational and professional training provides opportunities for the girl-children, who would have dropped out of school because of forced marriage, lack of finances of shame of menstruation, to have a better future and opportunity to better quality of life.
Scovia Apio studied at IGF Primary School, then enrolled at IGF Vocational School and was trained in Tailoring and garment cutting. After graduating, she started her tailoring business, and from the proceeds, enrolled for further training for Diploma in Technical Education. She completed in 2019 and is now employed by IGF Technical Institute as Instructor.
One of the girls sponsored by Susan Pierce is 19-year-old Kevin Aloyo who is studying midwifery. Kevin dreamed of being a Nurse, and this sponsorship is making her dream come true. She hopes to graduate in 2022, return to Kitgum to serve her community and get married and have a family.
Sponsorship of 100 girls through Irene Gleeson Foundation is helping change the worlds of these girls.
The recent outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in closure of all schools in the country. However, the team at IGF continued to reach out to the sponsored children in their homes to support them with food and soap, while the IGF FM Radio provides daily classroom teaching on-air to reach the children in their homes with lessons.
We pray and hope the cases of Covid-19 reduces so that schools are reopened and the girlchildren, who are now exposed to risks of early marriage and teenage pregnancies, can
return to continue with their education
Find out more about the The Irene Gleeson Foundation
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