From Despair to Hope: the story of Neema Lucas from Shinyanga, Tanzania
Imagine that you are a 15-year-old girl married to a 37-year-old man. As a young girl, you grew up dreaming of becoming a teacher, but this hope shattered when your parents forced you to drop out of school after Grade 7 –at the age of 14—to get married. Your life changed in an instant. You now rely on your husband to meet your basic needs, but he spends most of his money on alcohol and other women. You can not [...] READ MORE
Solange. Valentine. Justine.
Genocide. HIV. War. Poverty. Rape. This is an incredible list of threats to a young girl. Many of us would struggle to survive only one of these, but on a recent trip to Rwanda I met many young women who have survived all of them – and thrived.
After Solange’s parents died, the only way she could survive was to cross the border illegally from Rwanda into the Democratic Republic of Congo. Solange was taking a “short cut” – an [...] READ MORE
The Power of Voice for Women and Girls
Firelight Foundation intern Kathryn Kemper shares how her experience working in Kenya and at Firelight led her to recognize the power of voice for women and girls worldwide.
As a young woman I’m continually reminded of the importance and power of voice. Historically the voices of girls and women have been silenced. However, as a young woman in the US, I also recognize my own privilege to voice my opinion and negotiate for my rights. These privileges may seem basic, but they [...] READ MORE
Girls In Rwanda Want You To Know They are Innovative, Smart and Creative
From 2006 – 2014, Firelight Foundation was part of the Grassroots Girls Initiative, which was a partnership of six funders that believe grassroots organizations are uniquely qualified to deliver solutions for the most underserved girls in the communities where they work. Under this initiative, Firelight supported three community-based organizations in Rwanda and Malawi as they implemented quality girls’ empowerment programs. Our three partners, ADEPE, NASO, and ATT identified and recruited girls from their communities who had been made vulnerable by [...] READ MORE
Malawi Passes Legislation to Protect Girls from Early Marriage
Last week Malawi’s parliament unanimously voted to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18. This is tremendous news after a long advocacy effort!
Currently, about 50% of girls in Malawi marry before the age of 18, often due to family, cultural, and financial pressure. This contributes to many girls not finishing school, leading to lifelong disadvantages for girls and their children.
This article from Reuters gives some good background: Malawi Bans child marriage, lifts minimum age to 18. The quote from [...] READ MORE