Twice a week, under the shade of a tree, Fakia and Jemila meet with their female classmates to discuss everything from menstruation to marriage.
This is the Caro School Girls Club, led by these two vocal young leaders.
Fakia and Jemila are young – just 13 and 11 years old – but in Ethiopia they’ve had to grow up fast. Generations of women before have abandoned their education in the face of outdated and harmful practices, and they are determined that they and their compatriots do not suffer the same fate.
“We don’t have an office so we meet under tree shade. We meet twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays during our break time,” says Fakia.
“We talk about the disadvantages of early marriage, how it complicates life and how it leads to pregnancy at a young age, which makes delivery difficult and dangerous.”
“All of these make it difficult for girls to continue and pursue their education,” adds Jemila.
While the group talks, their hands are busy dividing up sanitary pads, produced by a local women’s self-help group who were trained in pad production by imagine1day.
“One of the major problems affecting girls’ participation in school is related to a lack of proper menstrual pads, which forces girls to miss school during their period,” Fakia says.
“We have 54 girl members, half of whom are 13 years old and above. Our club provides them and other non-members with menstrual pads. No girl is missing a class due to period.”
imagine1day worked with Fakia and Jemila to create the Girls Club. We provided the first supplies and trained the pair on how to be effective leaders in their school.
Today 202 girls attend Caro Primary School – that is more than double what is was five years ago.
Fakia and Jemila, both in Grade 5, are determined to continue championing the role of girls, and to pass the baton on when they graduate from primary school.
“Every girl deserves to learn,” says Fakia.
Support other girls throughout Ethiopia by donating to imagine1day. Your donation will help us create strong Girls Clubs and empower young female leaders and communities to stand up for girls’ education.