Every child has the right to learn and get a quality education regardless of their gender. But did you know that only 49 per cent of countries have achieved gender parity in primary education? According to UNESCO estimates,129 million girls are currently out of school. Every day, these girls face barriers to a formal education due to factors like poverty, cultural gender biasness, poor infrastructure, violence and physical vulnerability.
Over the past 200 years or so, the advocacy for the education for girls has advanced tremendously, leading to women playing central roles in education and schools being started solely for girls. These schools gave girls the chance to attain skills and knowledge that would help them make more informed decisions and land jobs in the future. Below are three notable schools worldwide which were started for girls only!
Do you know any of them?
#1 Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, Worldwide
The Sisters of the Infant Jesus or the Dames of Saint-Maur is dedicated to the education of underprivileged school children – particularly girls. It was founded in Rouen, France in 1666 as part of the work of Nicolas Barré - known more widely as Father Barré - a Catholic priest who gathered some young women for the free instruction of the poor in 1662.
Today, the Infant Jesus Sisters have a presence worldwide through social projects and schools that cater to both primary and secondary education, even in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand!
#2 The Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School, Lebanon
Opened by the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Prize, this notable all-girls’ school was started by none other thanMalala Yousafzai, a Pakistani education activist.
The school was opened for Syrian refugee girls on Malala’s 18th birthday – the day she became a woman legally. The school serves more than 200 Syrian girls between the ages of 14 and 18, according to the Malala Fund. Malala was inspired by her father, who is a teacher, and hopes to be the voice of children.
#3 Mahed Nur, Turkey
With the help of our partners in Turkey, Global Ehsan Relief supports the yearly maintenance of Mahed Nur, an Orphan Girls School to see to the education of Syrian refugee girls who would otherwise be deprived of a proper education growing up. After losing their homes to conflict and their parents to war, catastrophic disasters and disease in Syria, these girls deserve the rights to uninterrupted and quality education to ensure their preparation for the working world in the future.
The school is currently supporting the material and spiritual education of 120 girls who are of schooling age (primary and secondary) and ensures that they are provided with wholesome meals during the day.
Although we still have a long way to go, it is worth celebrating that advocates and organisations worldwide are championing the empowerment of women and the education of girls no matter their situation in life.
If you would like to advocate for young girls’ rights to education, you can contribute hot meals, learning materials, libraries, refurbishing works to improve infrastructure or support the educators who run the schools under our Ehsan Education Fund.