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Support women, support the world

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Girls from City of Joy with school bags provided by Share the Light

 

On International Women's Day, Sophie Astles from Salesian-inspired charity, Share the Light, describes their support for the Salesian Sisters' work with women and girls in Zambia

Education is power. Historically, this fact has led to access to education being limited based on factors such as gender, class and ethnicity. In the UK, the first women to graduate from a British university did not do so until 1869. While in 2017, nearly half of women in the UK had entered higher education by the age of 19, access to even basic schooling in countries such as Zambia is often not available to female students. Pregnancy, early marriage and extreme poverty are all factors in restricting girls and young women, as well as an expectation that they will stay at home and help to cook, clean and care for siblings.

 

At Share the Light, we know how valuable education is as a tool for changing lives. We were created after a wonderful teacher recognised a need for sponsorship to keep children in school, and while we continue this work and other projects, we also support the Salesian Sisters' project for women and girls, City of Joy.

This began in response to the impact of Zambia’s AIDS pandemic, which decimated many families, leaving the eldest siblings at their head. Along with abject poverty, this left girls and young women particularly vulnerable and open to abuse.

 

At the City of Joy, these vulnerable girls are given a loving home and family where they feel safe and cared for again, and where they are encouraged and supported in their education and training. We help cater for the medical and nutritional requirements of the girls, as well as providing clothing, school uniforms and other equipment. We help provide transport to enable groups from the City of Joy to travel out together safely, and we fund the maintenance of fencing to keep their boundaries secure.

 

Maureen's story

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Maureen with Share the Light Advocates


Maureen was one of the first girls to live at the City of Joy, and the first to reach Grade 12 and finish school. In 2015, she started nursing college but unfortunately, the local community could not find the funds needed to support her as she did not receive a full bursary from the government. This resulted in Maureen having to leave college. In 2016, she managed to obtain some sponsorship and the local community agreed to make up the remainder. However, it once again proved too great a burden and Share the Light received a request for help. Our advocates, knowing how lucky they are to be able to obtain an education, were dismayed to hear of Maureen's plight and their fundraising efforts have ensured she can continue her studies. They continue to fundraise to support her until she qualifies as a nurse this year.

 

Maureen says: "My education is very important to me, because it will make my future bright. I would like to build an orphanage so that I also can help young ones who have no one to help them. I thank you my sponsors for your support and generosity and I am grateful for the money you have sent to me to finish my studies. May God richly bless each one of you. Be assured of my prayers."

 

Sophie Astles
Share the Light


Visit Share the Light to find out more about their work and how you can support it.

Last modified on Friday, 08 March 2019 16:24

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