It's no secret that millions of girls around the world are not in school. Numbers vary, but many sources estimate that in 2017, more than 130 million girls are not getting their education. 130 million. It's hard to imagine 130 million of anything, but try to sit with that number for just a few seconds...
It's easy to get bogged down by statistics. To feel like this problem is completely beyond our reach. We end up tuning out when we are inundated with the amount of suffering in this world. But it’s important to think of these girls as individuals, rather than statistics. When we see and hear their stories, we are compelled to act through our humanity, not through probabilities and percentages.
"We are compelled to act through our humanity, not through probabilities and percentages."
Harrowing stories of some of the most resilient and courageous women are what inspired the idea behind Style Her Empowered (S H E).The book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn not only reveals the oppression women face worldwide, but it highlights the opportunity and potential that exist within the most tragic of circumstances.
It’s not merely coincidence that we see young women like Malala Yousafzai overcome violent oppression to lead an entire movement to educate young girls around the world. Or Mamitu Gashe (in Half the Sky) go from being an obstetric fistula patient, a major cause of death for women in childbirth, to becoming a master surgeon without even a primary school education.
Women are resilient. Women are ambitious. Women are important.
So how do we end oppression and empower women to exercise their potential?
It starts with education. Education has proven to be one of the most effective and sustainable methods for combating oppression. Without an education, girls lack skills necessary for work, but more importantly, they are predestined for a life of poverty, hunger, disease, childhood marriage, and even slavery. Yet, millions of girls are not in school.
Every year, billions of dollars are raised for global efforts in education, and while there has been improvement in education rates among girls, it’s clear we still have a long way to go.
Style Her Empowered combines financial aid and skills training to place girls at the center of their own development. We teach girls to sew their own required school uniforms and sponsor their tuition to reduce the financial barriers to getting an education.
To us, empowerment means self-determination.
Sustainable development is key to our mission, and our goal is always to empower girls with the necessary resources, skillset, and confidence to obtain an education and determine their own future. We see incredible potential in these young women, and we know you do too.