If you aren’t already familiar with the organization She’s The First, you’re about to be. They are a non-profit which advocates for the education of girls in developing countries by providing scholarships, and in some cases enabling girls to be the first generation of educated women in their families. Along with education, they also work to raise future leaders and empower girls to make a change in their communities.
STF have impacted girls in 10 countries and awarded over 500 scholarships. Why is girls education so important? Many foundations and non-profits estimate that when girls are educated, they are able to break the cycle of poverty because they have access to proper healthcare, are less likely to marry early as a way out of poverty, and each year of schooling increases their chances of earning up to 20%.
As solid proof of the impact She’s The First are making on girls lives, take a look at the short film below based on two girls from Nepal, Jharana, 11, and Sirjana, 15. They organized a 5k ‘Race for Equality’ in Sukhet, in order to raise awareness about the importance of equality.
“Inequality is a problem here because women cannot get the same jobs as a man,” said Jharana in the short film.
“Sometimes I am discriminated against by my friends just for being a girl,” said Sirjana.
According to UNESCO, literacy rates for men is at 71.6% and for women it is 44.5%. According to the Gender Equality Index, Nepal is ranked very low for South East Asian average numbers. The devastating earthquakes that rocked the country twice earlier this year did major damage to life for many families, and increased chances of poverty.
In the short film, Sirjana says many women who don’t have an education take up labor jobs, or in some cases go overseas and get involved in “bad work”. Human trafficking is a growing problem in Nepal as it often becomes the only option for women who aren’t educated and don’t have any other way to make money.
This is why organizations like She’s The First are powerfully changing the status quo for future girl leaders in the country.
Sirjana says her parents weren’t aware of how instrumental education can be to break poverty cycles, but once they did, they urged her to do their best in school as they wanted her to have a future that was better than their own.
“]My mom] always motivates my sister and me to study so that no one can discriminate or dishonor us,” she said.
Jharana on the other hand was inspired to organize the Race for Equality to raise awareness about her mother who cannot read or write, and to help other women as well.
“Every woman has a right to be educated. That’s why I decided to teach my mom how to read and write,” she said.
She did this when she was only 8, and now her mum has the ability to maintain accounts and records for her sewing business.
In both the girls’ school there are 91 STF scholars altogether who all worked in unison to help put on the 5k race. These girls are learning and implementing valuable team-building skills that will translate in any job they end up having in the future.
Another reason why giving young girls the chance to get educated will teach them so much more about life than simply how to read or write.
The short film was made by Christen Brandt and Kate Lord, and gives a glimpse into the impact you can have when you donate and support organizations like She’s The First.
As for the young women in the film, Sirjana and Jharana, they are examples of the impact anyone can make in their community even at a young age. We like to call it the “Malala effect” where girls are inspired by a young woman who dared to look danger in the face and continue with her noble mission anyway. We hope these two Nepalese role models will empower other girls to rise up and be the change for the next generation of female leaders in the country.
Watch the full film below and head over to the STF website to find out more about their mission, how you can donate and get involved.