The Second Good for Girls Charity Ride at SoulCycle

unnamedRemember how much fun we had last year? Well we’re doing it again, so come ride with us for a good cause!

We’re partnering with SoulCycle – the maestros of re-invented indoor cycling – to do a charity ride: an exhilarating, heart-pumping 45-minute indoor cycling workout. It’s like being at a club, but you’re cycling instead of dancing!

All proceeds will benefit partnerships supported by Project Good for Girls.

So grab a few friends and come sweat it out with us!

(and P.S if you can’t make it but would like to donate a bike, that would of course be awesome.)

When: Wed, Sept 27th 2017 at 7.00pm. (Refreshments will be served after the ride.)

Where: SoulCycle West Village, 126 Leroy Street, NYC.

To Reserve a Bike: A minimum $65 donation via Crowdrise is required to reserve a bike. A reservation email with your name and bike number will serve as your ticket and must be presented on the day of the ride. Tickets include clip-in shoe rental, water, and post-ride reception. Any questions, please email projectgoodforgirls@gmail.com.

Important to Note: Please arrive between 6.15-6.45pm, the ride will start promptly at 7.00pm. Riders must be at least 4’11” and at least 12 years old to ride. For any rider under 18, a parent or guardian will need to sign a waiver in person.

Our New Partner – Daughters of Tomorrow!

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A DOT training session (pic courtesy of DOT).

Good for Girls is thrilled to announce our new partnership with Daughters of Tomorrow in Singapore.

DOT is a non-profit organization that helps underprivileged women seek out livelihood opportunities and build financially independent and resilient families.

What’s happening in Singapore?

As the income gap in Singapore continues to widen, more and more families are falling behind. It is often a silent ‘epidemic’ — largely unseen amidst the glitz and glamour of the country’s affluent urban landscape. There are glimpses of it though: when you eat at a food court/hawker center and all the people clearing tables are elderly; when a new story surfaces in the newspaper about families crammed 10 to a single HDB flat, or kids having to study for exams by candlelight because their electricity has been shut off. When you take a stroll along East Coast Park beach early in the morning and see piles of flattened cardboard boxes, evidence of makeshift tents used by the homeless.

But there are civil society groups that are helping to address this and DOT is one of them. They noticed that a rapidly growing number of the affected tend to be women – notably elderly and single mothers – and so chose to focus on helping these women build financial resilience, not just to survive but to thrive. The challenges facing single mothers are significant. Forced to raise their families on their own because of death, divorce or abandonment by their partners, there are oftentimes severe limitations on their access to gainful employment. For instance, because there is no one to look after their young children at home they cannot pursue training or attend interviews, or take on jobs that don’t offer flexibility. They may have left the workforce to care for their families and now see their skills increasingly less-valued by potential employers. Permanent housing can also be a huge obstacle, meaning that many have to rent single rooms in flats, or burden family members and friends to keep a roof over their heads.

DOT currently works with women aged between 20 and 60 to learn new or improve existing skills to reach regular and sustained employment. The organization ‘deep-dives’ into the practical day-to-day constraints faced by each woman, coaching and supporting them individually, and building their confidence and self-esteem. DOT complements existing training and workforce-related agencies by connecting volunteers and community resources – any woman in a low-income situation who registers with a Family Service Center or Social Services Office can participate in DOT’s programmes.

So what’s the new partnership all about?

In the women’s back-to-work journeys, the burden of care often falls on their older children. Girls, typically, end up having to help look after younger siblings, while their mums look for work to make ends meet. These teenage girls therefore have to miss out on opportunities after school such as enrichment courses, school excursions, sports and other extra-curricular development. Many give up on their dreams to pursue sports or the arts from a young age, because of the practical needs at home. Some girls also end up having to quit school altogether to work to help the family out financially.

So Good for Girls and DOT are piloting a “Care Fund” that women can dip into to pay for babysitting and other care-related needs to free up their older daughters’ time. The fund is also meant to be a resource to provide small amounts to cover basic costs of after-school activities (such as fees, transport, equipment rental, etc), which girls usually cannot afford. Since this is a pilot project, as needs evolve so too will the Fund, in order to best respond to the women it seeks to help.

The Care Fund is being made possible by the generosity of Good for Girls donors. As a small, all-volunteer organization with low overheads, we are able to grant almost every penny raised to support our partners.

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Some of DOT’s clients and their families (pic courtesy of DOT).

 

Today is International Day of the Girl

Happy Day of the Girl everyone.

I hope you hug the girls in your life extra hard today. Spare a thought too for the millions around the world who don’t get to go to school, who are married off too young, who are forced into sexual slavery, and who are told their whole lives that they are useless, and worth nothing compared to boys.

While we are not a political organization in any way, and we will never be, I think we would be remiss not to connect the meaning of this day with the current presidential race in the United States. The misogyny of Donald Trump, his ‘sexual predator’ behavior, his reducing of women to ‘pigs’ and numbers on a ratings scale – all of this is staring our daughters in the face. That he still has so much support despite this has propelled to the surface the ugly truth that the sinister, rotten culture of disrespect for women and girls, and complete disregard for their rights, is alive and well even in 2016.

At the same time, we have another candidate who is not just capable, but who has shown through decades of public service that she truly cares about the future of this country, and the ability of future generations, both boys and girls, to thrive. She is measured, articulate, thoughtful, extremely intelligent, and she listens when others speak. None of these attributes have got to do with her gender. They are qualities we would admire in a man or woman.

But her gender does matter too, whether we want to admit it or not. To women who have struggled, and continue to struggle for gender equality in our everyday lives. And especially to our young daughters, and nieces, and granddaughters (and I would argue, to many young women in countries across the globe). If Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes the first female president of one of the most powerful nations on earth, she would have broken the ultimate glass ceiling. What this would represent to our young girls would be invaluable. Generations to come will not shy away from thinking, doing, dreaming, just because they’re told “that’s for boys not girls” or “you’re paid less because you’re a woman”, or “girls do art and boys do science” or “girls are pretty and boys are clever”. They will instinctively challenge attempts to judge them by their gender and not their merits. They will better be able to stand up to systemic gender discrimination for themselves and others.

This is the reality I want for my own daughters and for girls everywhere. Hillary Clinton is Good for Girls, and we’re #WithHer.

Support us through Amazon Smile

If you’re buying stuff regularly on Amazon (and who isn’t?) please consider making the purchase through Amazon’s charitable program – Amazon Smile. They’ll donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to Good for Girls, if you indicate this as the charity of your choice. No extra cost to participate!

Click on the link below to get started:

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/47-4416313

THANK YOU!!

 

Involving the Mums of the GGRF Athletic Scholars

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Mothers at a Savings and Entrepreneurship Group meeting, Bekoji, Ethiopia (courtesy GGRF)

The Girls Gotta Run Foundation has set up a Savings and Entrepreneurship Group for the mothers of the GGRF athletic scholars in Bekoji, Ethiopia. And Good for Girls is so proud to have a hand in supporting this awesome initiative!

In 2015, GGRF started an Athletic Scholarship program for 20 girls in Grades 5-8. This program is an expansion of the successful pilot being implemented in Sodo. The program will take place over 3 years, and will eventually involve 60 girls whose scholarships allow them to stay in school, participate on a running team and complete a life skills and leadership curriculum, which includes entrepreneurship and financial literacy.  The median marriage age in Bekoji is 15, so adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to being taken out of school and married off. The scholarships help remove financial pressures on families and encourage more positive attitudes towards girls’ education and delayed marriage. The girls complete the program after 3 years armed with skills and knowledge to better tackle challenges they may face as they grow into adults.

The newly set up Savings and Entrepreneurship Group for the mothers of the athletic scholars is meant to complement the program and also ensure a holistic, inclusive, and community-wide approach to tackling some of the broader cultural barriers and gender discrimination faced by women and girls in Ethiopia.  Since many women cannot discuss or participate in financial decisions in their families, this group offers a safe space for such discussions, and a means of learning how to start and grow small businesses. The hope is that both the girls and their mothers benefit together from new knowledge and skills that foster resilience and give them a greater voice in their families’  financial futures, and that in turn, this will help change cultural attitudes towards early marriage and girls’ education.

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Athletic scholars on a morning run in Bekoji, a small town renowned for producing Ethiopia’s most famous runners, and located in Oromia, the country’s largest coffee-producing region. (courtesy GGRF)

 

 

#62milliongirls Campaign – Add Your Voice!

Just this week, while the world’s leaders met at the United Nations, Michelle Obama launched a new campaign #62MillionGirls to call attention to the ongoing challenge to ensure that all girls everywhere have a chance to go to school. More than 62 million girls worldwide – around half of whom are adolescents – are being denied their right to an education.

“If we want to end global poverty, if we want to improve the plight of our country, educating girls is the key to all of that. It just is.”

Get involved! Watch the message from the First Lady (who we think is awesome!!) and then add your voice by doing this.

**The campaign is organized by Girl Rising in support of Let Girls Learn, a US Govt initiative to encourage and support community-led programs to help girls GO to school and STAY in school.

October 11th is International Day of the Girl

The theme of this year’s UN International Day of the Girl Child is “Empowering adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence“.

The theme recognises the vulnerable life stage that is adolescence, which plays a huge role in determining whether the path to a girl’s future can be full of promise, or a downward spiral. It also recognises the impact of violence on adolescent girls and how this can compromise their safe and healthy transition from child to adult, and can result in a cycle of violence that continues for generations. Studies have shown that while violence can occur early in a girl’s life, its risk factors – whether physical, sexual or psychological – are heightened once she hits puberty.

Violence against girls isn’t reserved just for the developing world – it happens anywhere and everywhere. There are the physical and sexual assaults on girls in developing countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria and India – often targeted for their attempts to get an education, or attacked due to patriarchal traditions (such as in the case of honour killings, FGM, bride burnings and early marriage). But there is also the abuse that girls experience in more developed countries such as the United Kingdom, America and Canada, on campus, on the internet, and on the streets where girls as young as 12 who are runaways or abandoned are trafficked, forced into drug-use and prostitution.

Empowerment is the key to ending the cycle of violence. When an adolescent girl is educated, has a support network, and economic opportunities, she will grow up to be an empowered women who can better care for herself and her family, increase her earning power, spur economic growth for her community and act as a positive force of change for others. Empowered girls are equipped with the self-esteem, resilience and life skills needed to overcome the debilitating impact of violence.

Learn more:
The link between education and girls’ risk of abuse
#BeBold4Girls

#IDG2014
Coalition for Adolescent Girls
Population Council
UNICEF
UNFPA – Focus on Adolescent Girls
Day of the Girl Summit 2014

 

This Girl’s Gotta Run – Meet Meron Tamen

Meron Tamen is a bright-eyed 12 year-old in the 7th grade at the Abba Pascal School for Girls in Sodo, Ethiopia.

Meron Tamen in Sodo, Ethiopia (Photo: GGRF)

Meron Tamen in Sodo, Ethiopia (Photo: GGRF)

Earlier this year, she was selected to be in a new school athletics team with 14 other girls, as part of a pilot project run by the Girls Gotta Run Foundation. Besides learning about health and fitness, and training for running meets, the girls also go through a life skills program which teaches them about nutrition, family planning, financial literacy, leadership and other issues. Each girl gets a scholarship which helps lessen the financial burden on their families so they can stay in school and complete their education. The scholarships take care of daily meals, snacks, running gear, school uniforms, hygiene supplies, books and tutoring, and even cover healthcare for the girls and their mothers.

Like many others her age, Meron has big dreams. Her favourite subject is chemistry and when she grows up she wants to be a pharmacist, she says. She loves running and school, and at 12, can already glimpse a future for herself that’s different from her mum, who was married at 17 and had her first child, Meron’s sister Kidist, at 19.

Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of early marriage in the world, with one in two girls marrying before her 18th birthday, and one in five before the age of 15 (UNFPA). Due to cultural traditions and poverty, girls are often pulled out of school to get married and typically give birth within the year. One in 22 women in sub-Saharan Africa die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, and because of their age, young girls are even more at risk. Young women are less likely to receive good pre- and post-natal care, and the maternal and infant death rate for girls aged 15-19 is twice as high as for women in their 20s.

Meron’s mother Abinehbech is very supportive of her daughters’ education. She wants them to have opportunities she didn’t have. She finished school up to the 10th grade and went on to complete a 2 year technical course in computer science, but then got married soon after and lived in a small, rural community. She gave birth to both her daughters on her family’s farm without a midwife or birth attendant. A few years ago, after her husband passed away, she moved outside her rural village to Sodo, in the hopes of providing better educational opportunities for her girls. She now sells coffee and tea to a local dairy farm to support her family.

Learn more about the Girls Gotta Run Sodo Athletic Scholarship Program

Meron with her mother Abinehbech and sister Kidist outside their home. (Photo: GGRF)

Meron with her mother Abinehbech and sister Kidist outside their home. (Photo: GGRF)