Education is the key to a better life for all people and this is especially true for girls growing up in developing countries. Girls who attain a primary education and continue through secondary school are far less likely to be married at an early age and to live in extreme poverty and with poor health.
Encouraging access to an equal education for girls can be challenging!
Not only do cultural beliefs about women stand in the way of girls being offered a formal education, but a “time poverty” in which the household chores expected of girls make it difficult for them to actually get to school. Added to all of this is the cost. For a family who is struggling to buy the basic necessities, paying for school tuition for all (or any) of their children may not be possible. When limited family funds are available for education, boys are usually sent to school and not the girls.
Improvements in many countries have been made in recent years and more girls are being educated longer.
Fair trade organizations are among those working to support these improvements. Ganesh Himal Trading is one example. With their Power of 5 Initiative, Ganesh Himal raises funds to help pay for school tuition for girls in Nepal. The Association of Craft Producers, a fair trade organization with whom Ganesh Himal is associated, set up the “Girl Child Education Allowance.” This provides a monthly stipend to member producers and artisans to help pay for the education of their daughters.
When girls are fully educated, entire communities can thrive. Buying fair trade helps support this progress. Check out this photo essay featuring girls all over the world attending school.
[Photo credit: Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post]