Growing up, I was one of those little girls who loved going to school. I never faked sick, and I actually looked forward to everything from history class to science lab. I just loved learning.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize just how lucky I am to have gotten the education that I did. Around the world, curious, intelligent young girls just like me don’t always have the same opportunities.
While I was learning about the Boston Tea Party, there were young girls taking care of their whole families on the other side of the world. While I was doing algebra equations, they were getting married. While I was busy applying to college, many of them were raising children of their own.
It’s no secret that women around the world often get a raw deal when it comes to opportunities — women have less access to jobs, high salaries, and especially education. Gender inequality is real, and it is present in all parts of the world.
For example, did you know that over 60 million girls around the world won’t even attend primary school? 60 million. That’s a lot of girls with a lot less opportunity than their male counterparts.
But with a number that huge, what can we do to put a dent in it?
Well, we can start small.
Introducing Project SAMA
In conjunction with Plan, one of the world’s oldest and most experienced children’s development organisations, Intrepid Travel is endeavoring to do what it can to help young girls — and all children — get better access to the education that could be crucial to their futures. Through education, Intrepid hopes to help fight the gender inequality that is present throughout the world.
Girls are more likely to be pulled out of school, have less access to health care, be married at an early age and experience more violence — these are just some of the reasons Intrepid has decided to take an active role in supporting gender equality over the long term.
Project SAMA is “a 3-year global gender equality program, aiming to improve the lives of communities and help bridge the gender gap through early education,” according to the SAMA website.
The first stage of the project will begin in rural Laos, where preschools didn’t even exist as recently as 3 years ago. In these areas, young girls are not only held back from education because of their gender, but also often because of their dialect and how difficult it is for them to integrate into school.
It’s Intrepid’s goal to raise $60,000 for this project by June.
How You Can Help
The great thing about SAMA is that the project does not plan to attack the issue by sending in a bunch of Westerners to “restructure” education in Laos.
Instead, SAMA aims to “establish parenting and community learning groups in up to 45 villages, develop low-cost, locally-made play and learning materials, and train preschool teachers for these communities.”
SAMA wants to help these villages help themselves.
By training the communities, the project will be able to sustain itself and grow for years to come.
And, because this project is taking place in a poor area of the world, a little bit of your money can go a long way.
- $5 can provide a maths bag and slate
- $5 can provide sports equipment for a village
- $15 can provide play and learning materials for a preschool
- $50 can support one playgroup in an ethnic minority community
- $100 can help train one teacher
It’s so easy to make a big difference with this project, and I really hope you’ll consider making a donation, and spreading the world to everyone you know.
Donating is easy and can even be done via Facebook, using everything from credit cards to a Paypal account.
The Importance of Education
And, because you should never take the word of just one person, I asked some other female travelers/bloggers about the importance of education in their own lives.
Their answers, I think, are quite inspiring.
My education has done more than just about anything else to shape the way that I see the world. I use the critical thinking skills I learned in school literally every single day to interpret the world around me. If I hadn’t had the benefit of a great education as a child, I am sure that I would not be the curious, book-loving, adventure-having person I am today.
– Stephanie, Twenty-Something Travel
I’m incredibly grateful that my parents insisted on education as a priority, from reading to me all the time as a kid to paying for my college degree. I always loved school: learning, reading, asking questions. It’s made all the difference in creating my current lifestyle: there’s no way I would be able to travel and write without my education. Earning a journalism degree taught me how to write, but even more importantly, my professors and peers taught me to think critically, challenge status quo and search for creative solutions.
– Christine, C’est Christine
Education is the heart and soul of my life! I was raised by two educators who preached that teaching and learning are the reason we’re on Earth. I’ve now been teaching in Boston for 8 years, and it’s an amazing career to help youth develop their minds, skills, and futures. I applaud the work of Project SAMA because human life without the opportunity for education is tragic.
Education has been an essential part of my life, not so much for the reading and writing and other skills I learned — although this has also been important. What I’ve gained the most from it is what I have learned about the world around me. This has given me a deeper understanding of others, has opened my mind to new ideas and ways of being, and has helped me to understand myself more. Education for me is a lifelong process. I am always learning, hence always growing.
– Caz, y Travel Blog
I feel very strongly that many of the world’s dilemmas and a lot of the suffering could be resolved if more girls and women were educated and given opportunities and equal rights. My birthday is March 8, International Women’s Day, so perhaps that has made me very interested in girl’s and women’s issues throughout my life. But I have also come to this understanding through my own experiences. I dropped out of school when I was a teenager, and luckily had the chance to go back and obtain a degree in journalism as a young adult. Without my education, I would have been unlikely to fulfill my potential, which I believe is to be a writer.
Education brings with it a higher income, but more importantly, it brings freedom, self-respect, choices and a better life. Every girl and woman should have this chance. Many studies have shown that when girls are educated, in rural areas especially, the family income and quality of life goes way up. Everyone benefits when girls are educated.
– Mariellen Ward, Breathe Dream Go
I think education is essential for a traveller. Like the child of any parents who have dual citizenship, I grew up moving around the world. If I hadn’t had those experiences as a child, I would have never gone to university to study Anthropology. I don’t get to travel much in recent years due to (long and boring) personal reasons, but I’m also using my degree to work hard on my new business — with the aim of financing a lifestyle of travel and work.
– Vanessa, Suitcase Scribbles
So now that you’ve heard the call to arms, do something about it! That $60,000 won’t raise itself.
Make a donation. Share this with your friends on Facebook. E-mail it to your former teachers and professors. Please, help spread the word.