Down the Rabbit Hole

Four years ago, while studying international development in Brussels, Belgium, I began to formulate an idea that I believed would help women in the developing world break the cycle of poverty and find sustainable livelihoods that would transform their lives and that of their children. I have always believed in the idea of gender equality and the need for role models in girls lives. Though the model has changed a bit, the basic idea has remained the same: provide women with the tools they need to find economic independence and a voice in their community. By focusing on women, I believe there will be a transformation in society as we will see women thriving and giving back to their communities. The developing world will see more children in school, less child marriages, an increase in hygiene and sanitation, increased female participation in the decision making among other positive outcomes.

Is another education program needed? In a word, YES. There are many wonderful programs striving to bring education to people around the world. With the millennium development goals, we saw an emphasis on the increase in girl’s education specifically. There has been much progress, but great obstacles still must be overcome before this goal is realized.  In this vein, I wondered how many young mothers and women were not receiving an education and then expected to care for their families. Data is showing that there is an increase in the number of female heads of household. How can a woman with little education and training support a family? 

The odds are against her and her children. Data shows that children who experience chronic and persistent poverty are more likely than those who did not to remain trapped in the cycle of poverty. The problem I wanted to solve was How can we get education and skills into the hands of women in the developing world who have little time, little literacy and little opportunity?