In 2010, inspired by the book, Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, Women for Women Ohio formed to assist young girls and women in Cambodia rise up out of poverty through education; W4WO provides financial assistance to girls allowing them to attend university and improve their lives and the lives of all Cambodians.
There are over 2.6 million school-age children in Cambodia, yet only a small percentage, roughly 500,000, go on to upper level grades.
Low Graduation Rates
Of those who attend high school, less than 135,000 graduate - approximately 5.1% - and less than 6,000 go on to university.
Even Worse for Girls
When you consider the fact that less than 0.23% of school children go to university, the overwhelming majority are boys. Girls rarely get the opportunity.
SOURCE: UNESCO estimates
Cambodians suffered severe hardships under Khmer Rouge rule (1975 - 1979). Nearly one-fourth of the population died - killed, tortured, starved to death. The intelligentsia was one of these targeted groups. Only recently has the country begun to rebuild.
Although public education is free up to grade 12, there are many costs for students: uniforms, housing, transportation (e.g. a bicycle), books and the economic loss of not having the girls available to work around the house or farm to help support the family. With few schools in rural areas, girls must stay with relatives to attend distant schools and often only get home on weekends.
In Cambodia, girls are the least likely to receive an education. At the most, without education, the girls follow in their parents' footsteps leading to a life of subsistence. Most are forced to help their families by working at home or in the farm fields. Some girls try to find outside work in factories and many end up in the sex slave industry, tricked by slavers and separated from their families.
With education, girls can learn to stand up for themselves, make good decisions about family planning, and have opportunities for gainful employment and contribute to their communities in a variety of ways.
One of the most effective ways to fight poverty and strengthen communities is through investing in education. This is particularly true for girls. Schooling allows girls to stand up to the injustices they witness and helps them grow into women that foster economic growth and stability. Help for girls in rural areas must come from the outside. That is the mission of Women for Women Ohio. Our organization formed to provide financial assistance for Cambodian girls. We began by funding the education of secondary school girls in the Sandan District of Kompong Thom Province.
Our efforts are now focussed on providing individual scholarships to university students as well as donating to a program promoting girls' education in public schools. Through our fundraising events and your donations, W4WO is providing help. Your donation, combined with regular contributions of our members, create opportunities for girls in Cambodia.
Your donation is 100% tax-deductible and all funds we collect are earmarked for our girls. Consider giving today, click the donate button and give whatever sum you are comfortable giving.