By Tawanda Makawa; Edited by Katie Hackett
In 11-year-old Tendai’s community, mothers are leading a revolution.
After going through training where they learned the importance of giving girls access to education, many women have thrown their energy into this important cause.
Organized into “Mothers’ Groups,” the women operate savings groups and business ventures with one mission: to remove the barriers that prevent girls from staying in school.
Tendai is a Grade 6 student. She’s an orphan, and she lives with her grandparents along with her four other siblings. When the local Mothers’ Group raised funds to provide school uniforms to girls from struggling families, they saw that Tendai was in need and provided her with one.
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“It feels good to be in the same uniform as every other child,” says Tendai, who wants to become a police officer in the future. “I now look at reading more than worrying about the school uniform. I hope to get to an advanced level with my education and help others in the community.”
Beyond that, the care Tendai felt from the other moms touched her heart.
“It feels good to be assisted by mothers in the community, as it makes me feel like my parents are still alive,” she says. “I appreciate the help we get from them and on a regular basis they talk to us and check on our health and smartness.”
“We realized alone you cannot achieve much, but with the savings and lending project the going gets easier,” says Susan Gumbo, 45, who is the chairperson of a collection of Mothers’ Groups.
Aside from helping with uniforms, the women have supplied schools with feminine pads, soap and lotions that female students need from time to time.
“The mindset of every parent in our community has changed,” says Susan. “We used to buy sugar each time we got money. Today, we have better knowledge of life and we care more for our children’s education and put them first.”