June Monthly Achievement Report 2015 : Girls Class
• To strengthen existing partnerships and nurture the growth of new ones
• Identify local partner organizations in the area and seek to develop strong, mutually beneficial and sustainable partnerships
• To provide equal educational opportunities for both men and women by increasing female numbers in classes, providing female only classes and increasing percentage of female scholarship recipients
GVI Laos works closely with the local community in Luang Prabang and we’re always on the lookout for ways to expand our impact and truly help the people we work with. Recently, we’ve had a very exciting development; allowing our hub and volunteers the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of women in Laos. Due to local traditions, only males are able to join a temple and receive food, shelter and an education. Many are from poor, rural back grounds and the temples facilitate their access to greater levels of support within the local and international community. The case is different for women, particularly from rural villages. Laos is a deeply traditional and conservative country and despite some levels of modernisation, the expectation for many girls is still to marry young and provide support to their families.
In Laos, the eldest girl is often expected to take care of their younger siblings and support the larger family unit. For many of these girls they reach a stage where their parents want them to travel to a city to find work in order to provide financial support to the family and relieve the burden of a mouth to feed. Unfortunately, without an education or any skills the girls have minimal job prospects. Their families are poor and desperate and without any other options the girls are forced or tricked into prostitution – sometimes with their family’s knowledge. GVI Laos became aware that a well-respected international organisation involved in women’s empowerment was operating in Luang Prabang. The organisation rescues girls, aged 10 to 18 from sexually abusive situations and provides them with support, access to medical care, education and training. The big priority is to get these girls back to being children and having a chance to have fun and laugh! Over time with the support of the organisation the girls receive skills to enable them to become self-sufficient.
GVI Laos is working closely to develop a partnership which enables us to provide free English lessons for the girls. We have started a Girls Only Class which will run over the summer break for 3 months. The class caters to approximately 25 girls, for an hour, four evenings a week. This is only possible due to the generosity of GVI Laos’ long term partner, Xayadeth College, as they provide GVI Laos with a classroom for the girls to study in and space for our volunteers to lesson plan.
The girls are currently learning the letters of the alphabet and the phonics as well as practising basic introductions. Many of the girls have not attended any type of formal schooling. While there was some initial shyness, the girls have settled into class well with a healthy sense of competition during games. Their favourite game at present is a written relay race, where each girl writes their name or a letter on the whiteboard and hands the pen onto the next person. The first team to finish, wins.
Our aim is to continue to nurture this new partnership, ensuring it is mutually beneficial and sustainable for both parties. In doing so we will also strength our current partnerships as we increase the number of females having access to English language classes.
Written by Field Staff Member Jema Callaghan
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