Girls Speak Out
girls speak out appeal
giving girls the chance of an education
In 2016 Street Child launched an appeal to help the thousands of girls across Sierra Leone and Liberia who were not being given the chance to go to school. We spoke to over 2,000 girls to discuss the issues preventing them from going to school and what could be done to impact upon them. Girls identified five key barriers to girls' education: poverty, teenage pregnancy, loss of a caregiver, parental attitudes to education and poor teaching quality.
Thanks to the support of the UK government, our Girls Speak Out programme is helping to tackle these barriers and give more than 10,000 girls the chance to go to school and stay there.
With your support, we have already...
Setup catch-up classes for teenage girls in Liberia
Over 73% of all Liberian children drop out between primary and junior high school. That’s why Street Child catch-up classes are so important. With the help of teachers and the Street Child social workers, our new catch up classes ensure girls can continue moving up the grade system and graduate as soon as possible – a goal to which they all aspire.
Given over 2,500 families business grants
Poverty was identified as the biggest barrier to girls' education. Across Sierra Leone we have supported over 2,500 families with business grants and training so they can setup a businesses - the profits of which are enough to afford the costs of feeding and educating their children. On average, this small grant is enough to grow businesses by 42%!
Supported 117 teenage mothers to go back to school
Teenage mothers face additional challenges in returning to school, including the need for family support in childcare arrangements and the stigma faced within the classroom. We've given 117 teenage mothers intensive support packages, including advocacy at the family and community level and supplementary financial support.
Given 1,668 girls educational support to return to school
We identified 1,668 girls who were not attending school due to financial barriers have been provided with education support. With the cost of education identified as a major barrier to many girls completing primary school, each girl received a uniform, school bag, shoes, books and pencils and school fees.
2,305 siblings have also received support after our social workers identified them of being at risk of dropping out during family mediation.
Provided on-going training and mentoring for 400 teachers
Initial workshops were held with all 400 selected teachers, covering core content delivery and classroom management skills. Since then, our 13 trained teaching specialists have been visiting each teacher a minimum of once per month to provide in-classroom support helping to improve the quality of education across schools in Sierra Leone.
distributed learning materials to over 11,000 children
400 classrooms across Sierra Leone have been provided with basic teaching materials and their students with learning materials including pens, pencils and exercise books. 172 classrooms were also provided with additional desks and benches and 350 classrooms were given blackboards helping to improve the learning environment.
stories from our work
Hawa, the aspiring lawyer who used to beg on the streets
Hawa is one of 15 siblings. Her father is blind. From the age of eight, instead of going to school, she spent her time begging on the streets.
A Street Child social worker met Hawa on the streets earlier this year. We gave Hawa education support so she could return to school. We also provided her family with a business grant so her mother could set up a sustainable business and support Hawa and her siblings to go to school.
“I want to say thank you to Street Child for what they have done. I want to be a lawyer so I can help the people of my country.”
Jenneh, the orphan who wants to be an electrician
One of 15 brothers and sisters raised together in Makeni, Jenneh also counts as one of 3,000 children who lost both parents to Ebola.
A Street Child social worker has helped Jenneh's grandmother to setup a business selling firewood. Jenneh's grandmother can now afford the costs of sending Jenneh to school.
"My grandmother can buy my essential school materials like pens, books, and a new school uniform. Being back at school keeps me busy, I want to be a electrician! It’s a good vocation for a lady as I will stand a better chance than a man!”
Why aren't girls going to school in sierra leone?
In Sierra Leone there is a dangerously worrying fact facing vulnerable young girls looking for a fair start in life: they’re simply not being given the opportunity to stay in school.
UNICEF research shows that even a single year of secondary education has the potential to increase a girl’s future earnings by up to 25%. Investment in girls’ education also has a multiplier effect: educated girls benefit from better family planning and have healthier children who are more likely to remain in education themselves. But Sierra Leonean girls are increasingly likely to drop out of school at this vital stage. As a charity working at the very forefront of educational development in the region, Street Child felt it was imperative to find out why.
So we decided to ask them.
helping 10,000 girls to go to school
The Girls Speak Out Appeal was designed to raise a minimum of £1 million to ensure that more than 20,000 children can go to school and stay there. The appeal was a massive success and now, having already offered girls across Sierra Leone the chance to speak out for the first time, our work on the ground will help ensure that the issues they face cannot continue to be ignored.
Through the efforts of our media partners we were able to carry our message far and wide to help create a better future for thousands of vulnerable girls. Thanks to a massive response from the UK public, we were able to ensure that the voices of the brave girls involved in our project were as loud as they could be and as a result, we'll help ensure more than 20,000 gain the opportunity go to school and stay there.
Street Child wants to say a huge THANK YOU to appeal patrons and partners as well as everyone across the UK that helped us create a movement that will ensure vulnerable girls’ voices can be heard. Together, we can achieve so much more.
Girls Speak Out On...
Our appeal focused on each of the barriers that girls highlighted to us and what we intend to do as an organisation to help resolve them.
Hear directly from some of the girls we spoke to during our national consultation in Sierra Leone by visiting our Girls Speak Out On... page where you can hear from some of the brave girls that contributed to our original consultation report.