Young women in Zambia are lacking the proper education needed due to harsh poverty. Fortunately, a group called Global Samaritans is continuing education in orphanages and schools in the hopes of bettering girls’ education in Zambia and equipping these women with the tools they need in order to shape their own futures.
Global Samaritans is a nonprofit organization with the purpose of improving life for those in Zambia. Its goal is to provide Zambian children with access to the highest level of school they wish to pursue, Executive Director for Global Samaritans, Erin Porter, told The Borgen Project.
Issues with Girls’ Education in Zambia
Zambia is struggling to maintain enough schools for children that are eligible to attend, according to UNICEF. It is estimated that 1,500 classrooms need to be constructed each year in order for children to go to school in Zambia. Citizens that live in the rural areas of the country are less likely to go to school because they cannot afford school supplies.
Zambian women face these hardships even worse than men when trying to become educated because of gender stereotypes and inequalities. In rural areas, 27 percent of Zambian women are not educated, compared to men at 18 percent.
Despite girls having a higher school attendance rate than boys, illiteracy is 15 percent higher in girls. Zambian girls are also twice as likely to drop out than boys by grade seven because of socioeconomic problems, according to the World Bank.
Addressing Gender Stereotypes in Zambia
These women are prone to marrying young, getting pregnant early and staying at home, performing household tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Since boys are seen as more profitable to a family, they are more likely to be sent to school instead of girls. Diseases such as AIDs spread quickly throughout the country, causing poverty to heighten, which forces girls to either drop out of school or not go at all.
“Girls are the ones who suffer the most when it comes to education in Zambia,” Porter said. “Oftentimes, they are responsible for the home and Zambia suffers from water scarcity. So, if a young girl has to walk 30 minutes to an hour each way to collect water two times a day, that is vital time spent on domestic chores instead of attending school.”
How Good Samaritans is Helping
To help with this problem, Global Samaritans has set up an orphanage and a school so Zambian children can receive the education they deserve. The group built a high school in 2010 called the Global Samaritans High School to provide children a secondary level education, helping achieve girls’ education in Zambia.
Children attend a government school from grades one through seven and then attend boarding schools after that, which can be costly due to fees, uniforms and school supplies. Global Samaritans High School provides children two more years of education at a nominal fee, Porter said.
The high school works hand-in-hand with the orphanage to allow a higher level of girls’ education in Zambia. For the girls who fall pregnant at a young age, the orphanage welcomes them back to learn and holds informational meetings about the importance of girls’ education in Zambia, Marriam Konga, orphanage administrator, said.
“I am proud to say that as an orphanage, we have been able to raise girls into adults today, some of whom are working as teachers and nurses and are already making a change in the communities around them,” Konga said. Global Samaritans will continue to work toward improving the lives of young women in Zambia and lowering the level of poverty in the African nation.
– McKenzie Hamby