Educated girls are a powerful source of change.
World Bank Chief Economist Larry Summers observed, "Investment in girls' education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world." He was right. Time and time again, girls across the developing world have proven that when they access education, they forward the benefits to their community. One educated girl can impact generations.
In Gambia, West Africa, girls face problems that trademark developing countries. For example, the average family lives on a daily income of $1. Education is privatized after grade six, costing $100 per year. Thus, families frequently invest their small income in educating boys while girls are relegated to domestic labor. Other barriers include cultural biases against women and teenage marriage. The culmination of these obstacles prevents roughly half of the Gambian population from accessing education and economic empowerment, decreasing the country's chance for progress.
Being students in the United States, we recognize how privileged we are to never have grappled with such issues, especially as girls. As we attempt to inspire our generation to have a positive impact, it is critical that we help bring attention to the unjust conditions of our peers in other countries. These girls are not victims, though. They are heroes in the making. We have a lot to learn from each other, and as we do so, are creating a new future for our generation. A lot can change in our lifetime, especially as we work together.
Our hope is that the relationships we forge and the school tuition we provide will create waves of empowerment for students and girls everywhere.