41 girls from Nyamirama Sector, Kayonza District, will be sent back to school through the Women and Girls Initiative (WGI) new Scholarship program.
WGI was founded in 2009 by Bertrand Farmer, Director of Community Health and Social Development at Partners in Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima (PIH/IMB) Rwanda, with the aim of promoting women’s empowerment through health, education, and economic interventions.
“The new scholarship program is the first in a series of interventions intended to eliminate barriers to access to education. Girls who have dropped out of school for financial reasons are offered school fee support, uniforms, sanitary pads, and other necessary materials to continue their education,” according to a statement from WGI.
Over 120 girls ages 12-19 currently participate in WGI activities in Nyamirama.
According to Grace K. Ryan, the Assistant Community Health Program Director, 127 out-of-school girls in Nyamirama were recruited by local authorities in cooperation with the Nyamirama Health Centre.
“The WGI girls clubs self-selected those who would be returning to primary or secondary school and would prefer to pursue vocational training or income-generating activities (additional WGI-sponsored interventions that are forthcoming),”Ryan says
She added that this is the first year that WGI is offering scholarships and they are being piloted in Nyamirama then expanding to Rutare.
WGI has also been informally working with girls clubs in Rutare since 2009, though scholarships haven’t yet to be offered there.
The Co-Founder of Partners in Health, Dr. Paul Farmer, said that the scholarships are a humble first step to breaking the cycle of poverty.
“You will never break the cycle of poverty or disease without educating girls,” Dr. Farmer said.