In Bangladesh, one in four girls are not in school. Four out of ten are married before age 18, and half are mothers before then. 50% of girls do not graduate primary school. In developing countries, 40% of people live on less than $1 a day.
In the entire world, around 70% of the poor are women and children, but in your hands, $10 a month for 12 months, or a one time payment of $120, could pay for the education and empowerment for one woman.
Shonglap is a one-year program for girls between the ages of 12 and 18 that enables them to become educated and empowered to grow into, “respected and productive members of society.” It is a small-scale program developed by the Strømme foundation in order to help the larger issues in Bangladesh. By helping with the economic situation, Shonglap is trying to overcome the root of their poverty. Currently, the program focuses on Bangladesh, but it might expand to East Africa and Nepal.
“When girls aren’t educated, it is hard for them to find any employment,” Shonglap US Program Manager Anna Rohwer said.
After graduating from Eastern, Rohwer joined Geneva Global and has since worked with their client, the Strømme foundation. She works to raise awareness for fund-raising and to network through colleges for the Strømme foundation’s Shonglap program.
Strømme and Shonglap are working “to eradicate global poverty through education and micro finance.” The program empowers the people to improve their country.
“In order for development to occur, you need to empower the people so that they can change their lives, [by] saying that you are worth something and you can make a living for yourself.” sophomore Kali Fairchild said.
Fairchild had heard Rohwer speak in an Economic Development class and now interns with the Shonglap program. Fairchild helps with much of the Public Relations work and overlooks the social media platform.
“Our world faces some big problems, and in our interconnected age, a problem somewhere is a problem everywhere.”
In order to change these problems, we need to get to the root of their poverty by putting the girls in Bangladesh back into society with business skills and courage. Shonglap gives them the education they need to get employment or to start their own small businesses, processes that will take time. With the rippling effect, girls who complete the program can influence the community to change for the better.
Over 40,000 girls have completed the program. $120 can change a girl’s life, which can change the whole community.