February 2017

A new year!

Thanks to you, we reached our 2016 campaign goal with flying colours. Your generous actions and donations mean that the wonderful Peer Literacy Program in Sierra Leone with our partner, CAUSE Canada, will be funded for two full years. As well, this past November, I was able to personally deliver the final version of our innovative Mobile Learning Lab (MLL).

In 2017, we will continue to fund that amazing program and add another to our long list of investments in girls’ education: supporting Maasai girls in Tanzania through the Stephen Lewis Foundation and their local partner, Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO).

Our $100,000 for this ground-breaking project in Tanzania will enable 100 girls to attend high school for the first time, with all expenses covered: food and lodging, tuition fees, school supplies, health support and community engagement. In this part of Tanzania, where only 1 in 100 girls attends high school, our funding will have a major impact.

We are very proud to be working once again with the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which has been an excellent partner since our first project together in 2006. Their rigour, transparency, experience and strong values in support of women and their communities are very much aligned with our beliefs and perspective.

Thank you for your belief in the transformative impact of girls’ education!

Wanda Bedard,
President

Watch Wanda’s inspiring TED talk: Girls’ education in the developing world.

Can you help us with freight costs to ship 150 tablets to Sierra Leone? If you can help, please contact Wanda at info@60milliongirls.org.

SAVE THE DATE: Luncheon at the Beaconsfield Golf Club
Wednesday, May 31st  

A donor’s perspective

By Paula Gallagher

Donors and volunteers are the heart of the 60 million girls Foundation. We thought a profile of one of our West Coast donors would demonstrate the strength of the Foundation, the pride in its accomplishments, and show the optimism for future endeavours.

Linda M. lives on Vancouver Island. I asked Linda to answer four questions. Her answers are eloquent and self-explanatory.

What is your background, and how did you develop an interest in educating girls?
I have been an elementary school teacher, employed in both the public and private sectors during the ’70s and ’80s, a self-employed woman in business in the ’90s, a Rotarian sharing their great service values, and have volunteered several times for a literacy project in a poor community in Mexico. I have seen how women in some cultures are the ones who tend the families and want to make life better for their children. Studies show that, when women (and girls) are educated, their health improves and, in turn, their families and their communities thrive.

How did you find 60 million girls Foundation?
A few years ago, I read an article in, I think, The Globe & Mail, about significant Canadians who have individually set up charitable helping organizations to make a difference in the poorer parts of our world. Wanda and 60 million girls were featured. I sent a donation in to help at the time, and have continued to receive the newsletter to stay connected. Last year, I read about the pilot project in Sierra Leone and was able to send a donation to help with the purchase of the tablets.

Going forward, are you satisfied with the impact of your donation?
I am very happy that my donation helped the start-up of this project, and that it has been a big success. The challenge, as with all projects, is to keep the fire burning strong with energy, funding and support, as the project evolves and faces challenges on its path to meet its goals.

What are you hoping to see in the future of 60 million girls Foundation?
60 million girls carefully reviews the thousands of ways they can assist girls and women to make a better world, and I believe they will always pick the projects that do the most good most effectively and efficiently with the funds at hand. I believe that it’s wiser to do a great job on a smaller scale, than attempt bigger projects and spread yourself too thinly. This seems to be the approach of 60 million girls and, with its collaboration with other charitable organizations, I believe its future will be as successful and impactful as its past.

Thank you to Linda, and to all the donors like her. You are educating women and girls and creating a better world.

Defining success

How do we define success?

This past December, the first cohort of students graduated from Oleleshwa’s All Girls Secondary School in Kenya. Two members of our executive committee travelled to Kenya, at their own expense, to witness firsthand the pride and joy of this event. In 2007, through our partner, WE (formerly Free The Children), we supported the Oloosiyoi Primary School project in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya. Recognizing the importance of secondary education, it was a natural extension to support the girls graduating from the elementary school, in both 2013 and 2014, by funding the Oleleshwa secondary school. And, now, the girls have graduated!

This is our definition of success!

Jambo from Kenya!

By Negin Atashband and Kassandra Berardelli

With elementary graduation rates increasing in the Maasai Mara region of Kenya, 60 million girls was one of the partners to help WE build a new school for girls, Oleleshwa Girls Secondary School, in 2013. We were beyond excited and grateful at the opportunity to celebrate the graduation of the inaugural class, on the last day of 2016, and to witness first-hand the impact of 60 million girls’ support.

Visit to Massi’s home

Visit to Massi’s homeThe day before the Oleleshwa girls’ graduation, we were fortunate to have a private visit of the school grounds, guided by two lovely graduates, Massi and Faith. In this video, Faith talks about life at school. Later, we were welcomed at Massi’s home, where she shared her aspiration of becoming a doctor with us. Her family expressed great pride in their daughter’s accomplishments, and said how this would positively affect their lives. They expressed gratitude towards the school supporters, who made dreams like Massi’s come true.

As we arrived to celebrate the graduation of both the Oleleshwa and Milimani secondary schools, we were immersed in a joyful sea of schoolgirls and community members, singing and welcoming us. The crowd was immense and joyous. Some had walked for several hours to participate in the celebrations. They understood full well the positive ripple effect that this group of girls would have on their communities. As the girls walked into the spotlight, a huge storm cloud appeared. However, this was such a wonderful omen as rain is considered a blessing in the Maasai culture and this was a blessed event. As the girls received their diplomas, their personal goals and aspirations were announced. Their goals included becoming teachers, doctors, journalists, engineers, and even president of the country! They all aspired to use their education to support and improve their community.

The celebration continued with speeches, musical performances, and releasing doves. The graduates, families and supporters joined in singing, taking pictures, and sharing the joy and the emotions of this special day. (Video) Congratulations to the graduates, from all of us at 60 million girls and all our supporters!

Our stay in the Mara did not end with the marvellous event. We were delighted to also learn about other impactful and sustainable WE projects, connect with so many amazing people, and celebrate the opening of Ngulot All Boys Secondary School. Our heartfelt gratitude to WE for enabling us to participate in this unforgettable, meaningful and inspiring experience!

Wanda’s upcoming speaking engagements

March 14th: Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), Sherbrooke
April 28th: The 2nd World Conference on Blended Learning 2017 (IABL2017), hosted by George Brown College, Toronto. For more information or tickets, contact www.iabl2017.org.
May 9th: Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting (CALU) – 26th Annual General Meeting, Ottawa

BC Chapter news

We are continuing to keep busy on the wet West Coast, spreading the word about educating girls and the work that 60 million girls Foundation is doing. In November, Paula Gallagher gave a presentation to 50 members of the University Women’s Club of White Rock. They were a very attentive and appreciative audience. In February, Paula will be speaking to a larger audience at the University Women’s Club of Richmond.

On International Women’s Day, March 8th, Paula will be part of a panel at Hycroft, the University Women’s Club of Vancouver. This event, Educating Women and Girls – Changing our Communities and the World, is open to the public. Further information regarding tickets can be found at uwcv@uwcvancouver.ca or by contacting Paula Gallagher at gallagherpaula4@gmail.com.

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