Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On a Report from Haiti: Educating the girl child

 PayamZamani - Visiting Haiti – "Can Education Be The Answer?" - a blog I wrote on my recent trip with MonaFoundation.org to Haiti. http://bit.ly/5ha4Gt

Although the Mona Foundations schools are also co-educational, the focus is on educating the girl child, as is pointed out in Payam's blog post. -gw
My wife Gouya and I traveled to Haiti last month with a group of supporters of the Mona Foundation, which included "The Office" actor Rainn Wilson (who plays Dwight Schrute) and his wife Holiday Reinhorn. ...

While the Mona Foundation sponsors coed institutions, it is primarily focused on educating girls and women. Educating girls is crucial. As mothers, women are the first educators, and studies show that once a girl gets an education, she has the opportunity to raise the standard of living for herself, her family, her community, and her country. According to GirlEffect.org, research in developing countries has shown the children of educated women are healthier, and more likely to be in school themselves. A woman or girl will reinvest 90 percent of her income into her family, while a man will reinvest only 30 to 40 percent. An extra year of primary school raises a girl's lifetime wages by 10 to 20 percent, and an extra year of secondary school raises a girl's lifetime wages by 15 to 25 percent. Focusing money on educating girls is important because for every development dollar spent, girls typically receive less than 2 cents.

The Mona Foundation was named for Mona Mahmudnizhad—a 16 year old girl who taught children in orphanages how to read and write and in 1983 was executed by the Iranian government because she was a member of the Baha’i Faith (www.bahai.org). In her memory, the foundation supports schools and orphanages with a specific focus on those dedicated to education of women and girls. In a speech to the foundation supporters on the trip, Mona Founder and President Mahnaz Javid, said, “As we continue [Mona Mahmudizhad’s] unfinished work in her honor, we will continue to do all we can to be the partner to social economic development projects, like this, that will ultimately raise the leaders of this country.”


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