What do goats, dignity and solar have in common?

February 2017

Well, thanks to Plan International Rwanda, 610 schoolgirls in Nyaruguru, Rwanda, now happily know the answer.

Plan International Rwanda, in partnership with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA Rwanda), saw the need for the rights of girls in rural Rwanda to be promoted. They saw a need for working towards a society where girls can learn, lead, decide, and thrive.

To address these needs, the NGOs provided 408 goats, 342 dignity kits and 610 Little Sun lamps to support the most vulnerable students, especially girls, in three schools – Bunge, Kamana and Runyinya – located in Nyaruguru Programme Unit in the Southern Province of Rwanda.

The distribution was part of the project “Girls Safe School” funded by the Because I am a Girl(Plan International Japan) National Office, in line with the Plan International global movement dubbed BIAAG Because I am a Girl Global).

 

The Girls Safe School project by Plan International promotes gender-transformative education through improving gender-responsive teaching, strengthening the responsiveness of schools to girls’ and boys’ rights, empowering young women and men to be actively involved in school decision-making, improving Sexual Reproductive Health Rights education, strengthening gender-based violence prevention efforts, and strengthening community and parental support for gender-responsive education.

The project targets adolescent girls aged 12 to 19 years old and directly tackles the hindrances that girls face in their everyday lives and at home; in school; on their way to and from school; on their way to fetching water; when farming and on their way to and from the market.

The girls selected to be part of the project received goats, dignity kits and Little Suns. Why these three items in particular? Goats give the girls their first step towards creating their own income. The dignity kits provide them a simple way to improve hygiene: the kits include sanitary pads which are too expensive for most families. The Little Sun lamps can be used as lights to study with and to walk home safely with, after dark.

 

One of the girls who received a dignity kit as part of the project had this to say:

“Having the dignity kit is more necessary for me because in my family it is so hard to afford buying sanitary pads, body lotions, or even laundry soaps. I am so thankful for these materials we were provided with by Plan.”

15-year-old Francoise, who studies in Senior 3 at GS Bunge, expressed how life-changing it was for her to receive a goat as part of the project:

“These livestock are more necessary, because when I will be having more livestock I will start selling some to provide anything I will be needing for myself. I had no other income generating thing. I used to rely on my relatives to get anything and they too are not able to get me all I need.”

Many girls also expressed their gratitude in receiving a Little Sun, saying that it would help them greatly in studying at night when they are home, as well as avoiding using kerosene which is unaffordable for most of their families and is also bad for their lungs.

For all of the girls, the project gave them a far better sense of self-determination and, above all, happiness…

…proving that goats, dignity and solar do indeed have a lot in common.

 

Solar Lights for Schools in Rwanda

In 2016, 1600 students benefited from our Solar Kids School Program, tailored to give students a sustainable light so they can read after dark and are no longer exposed to harmful kerosene. Contact Xaver for further information: xaver@littlesun.com

 

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