Less than a quarter of the secondary school-age female population in Tanzania attend school.
The School of St Jude is proving this can change.
International women’s empowerment facilitator, Ginette Collin, was blown away when she held a fortnight of after-school classes with our female secondary students.
“The St Jude girls were much more confident than I expected,” said Ginette, founder of the Malaysian-based non-profit PurpleLily project.
“When I asked a question everybody would raise their hands – they were really willing to participate in any activities and discussion. It was great.”
PurpleLily focuses on women and girls from low social economic backgrounds who are considered disadvantaged – an important area to improve in Tanzania, as UNICEF’s latest figures show only 24.4% of females attend secondary school in the country.
St Jude's has more than 50% female students, who are regularly proving they can achieve anything if they are given the opportunity.
A-Level student Omega was one of 70 who took part in the PurpleLily program, which featured classes on Goal Setting, Building Confidence, Communication and Positive Thinking.
“(It) was really helpful. It makes us confident and positive about ourselves, and helps us to be passionate and motivated to achieve our goals,” she said.
The PurpleLily program has proved to be the ideal partnership, with our own Purple Lily club now established and committee members currently being voting in.
It is hoped younger students will therefore also benefit from the program, particularly as the positives of giving women a good education are proven. Not only does it help break the cycle of poverty, educated women are less likely to die in childbirth or marry early and against their will, and are more likely to have healthy children that they send to school.
Ginette said the Positive Thinking and Building Confidence classes were particularly popular, and the students learnt a number of useful tools, like using a mantra or affirmation to build confidence.
“The PurpleLily workshops have helped me improve my confidence. I have learned about body language and how to maintain a positive mind. Some of the tools like the Mantra really help me to feel good about myself,” student Karen said.
Ginette was obviously thrilled the program had gone over so well.
“I just thought that (St Jude’s) was the perfect school to start with. It is so academically-focused, but also there’s also a really good culture there of working. I’m really happy I started with St Jude’s,” she said.
Ginette and her husband Brian sponsor a St Jude’s student and teacher, and Brian volunteered here during extended summer holidays in 2010 and 2011.
“We’ve been linked to St Jude’s for a long time, so I was happy to bring Purple Lily there for the first time in Tanzania,” she said.
We have been committed to equality since we opened in 2002. Find out more about our approach to fighting poverty through education.
To find out more about Purple Lily, go to: http://purplelily.org/