A year ago, life was very different for Regina Waye, a 19-year-old girl from Iogre in Nabdam, Northern Ghana.
She had dropped out of school. With no literacy or numeracy skills, no vocation, and her visual impairment, there would be limited opportunities available for her.
But now, things have changed.
“I think I have benefited more than my other colleagues,” she remarks with a broad smile on her face. “I could not see very well neither could I read when I started. This was affecting me at the vocational skills training and at Accelerated Learning Programme. … Today, with the eyeglasses provided, I no longer have that difficulty with seeing, reading, walking without stumbling.”
She heard about the Strategic Approaches to Girls’ Education program (STAGE) and with the help of her parents, she enrolled in a 9 month community based learning program. There she learned to read and write, do math, and build important life skills. Supported by a facilitator and a Community Oversight committee, she went to the learning center every day.
World Education Inc implements STAGE, funded by FCDO, to identify marginalized out of school girls and to empower them with fundamental skills. A total of 17,000 girls are identified and helped to reintegrate back into formal education or to enter the world of work.
A local artisan, Madam Anafor Veronica, trained Regina and five of her peers to make beads, sandals and other products. She also provided business counseling to them, teaching them skills like how to properly record cash flow. Madam Anafor also taught the girls to “look for people who will require you to supply the beads in quantity and sell products in the various markets within the districts.”
A significant portion of the girls enrolled in the program face barriers in the community and at school such as teenage pregnancy, extreme poverty, or living in remote areas with limited access to education. World Education has worked with communities to develop adequate support for girls to achieve their aspirations. Using our disability screening protocol, we have found that around 10% of the girls have a functional impairment and, as with Regina, STAGE works with government partners to provide assistive devices. Inclusive pedagogical approaches ensure that all girls are able to join and learn.
Regina has worked hard and received support from not only STAGE but from community members and her parents. Her father, Mr. Abukan, shared:
“We were happy when the STAGE project was brought to our village. We took advantage of it and enrolled her onto the program. Today, we are here for the graduation, the beginning of good things to come.”
They all gathered on December 1, 2020 to celebrate the end of the training. At the graduation ceremony, Regina looks proud and confident in herself and the 809 other girls in her district.