International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on gender equality and its importance all year-round. On this day, we celebrate those who go above and beyond. To ensure women and girls around the world get the support they need all year, Beedie Foundation is supporting One Girl Can with a pledge. The foundation is putting over $100,000 towards education in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.
One Girl Can, but Two Can Even Better
As International Women’s Day approaches, Lotte Davis, founder of One Girl Can, has partnered with Cindy Beedie, executive director of Beedie Foundation. In a renewed commitment to educating girls and supporting women’s rights around the world, Beedie Foundation has pledged over $100,000 to the cause. A portion of this support will go towards an urgent project: rebuilding Ushirika School in the Kibera slums in Nairobi. This school, which the organization initially built with six classrooms and a library, is transforming into a three-story learning facility that will include a fully equipped science lab!
“Education is one of the most powerful tools we can give young women and girls,” said Cindy Beedie. “It is our privilege to encourage education at every level in this important school initiative in Kenya.”
Educating girls has an incredible effect on their communities. Not only do educated girls have a better chance of lifting themselves out of poverty and are 90% less likely to become child brides, but their children are also more likely to get educated themselves. These girls will also go on to create a ripple effect of challenging gender stereotypes and become role models for other girls in their communities.
Firsthand Experience Built One Girl Can
Lotte Davis grew up in South Africa during apartheid, bearing witness to the horrible effects of racism and a lack of human rights. What bothered her was the distinct lack of opportunities for women and so began her mission to right these wrongs and in 2008 she began started building schools in Africa. Five years later, this transformed into what we now know as One Girl Can, an organization that supports girls from the end of primary school to the time she gains employment.
Unlike here in Canada, education passed the primary level in Kenya is not free, which means many girls drop out of school due to poverty or cultural pressure. To this day, the organization has built or renovated 110 buildings into girls’ schools in Kenya, mentored nearly 10,000 girls a year and awarded 864 high school and university scholarships to young women.
Women Supporting Women
For those inspired by Beedie Foundation and One Girl Can, there is a way to support girls’ education while also supporting female-founded brands right here in Vancouver. Visit their Facebook page for a complete list of brands donating to this initiative. Fleurs Tea, Lolo Jewellery, Shangri-La Hotel*, and Sun Vixen are just a few that have special offers in support of girls’ education and International Women’s Day.
Until Every Girl Can
To celebrate International Women’s Day is to celebrate women, such as entrepreneurs like Miriam Lorena, Lotte and Cindy. While we cheer on those who reached their goal, it is essential to reach down and help up women and girls who have yet to fulfill their potential. With the help of organizations like One Girl Can, they can succeed despite the odds and, in turn, uplift other girls in their community.
- Mona Butler is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, BC.
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