girls with student in chemistry class
Girls in science, Tanzania Girlstown, Summer 2022

Bringing STEM education to the most disadvantaged girls

Access to education for many girls around the world is difficult. Poverty only compounds the problem, leaving millions of girls desperate to learn but without access to a place at school.  A quality education, which includes a focus on science and technology, helps children towards better employment opportunities and a more productive, poverty free future, so it is a a vital part of the education that we provide to the children in all our programmes around the world. We focus on  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) training and this is provided equally to boys and girls.

Education for girls is a priority for us. Helping to address the huge inequality and lack of access to education girls face around the world and empowering them for the future (UNSDG5). In Tanzania, for example, 5.1 million children are estimated to be out of secondary school and girls form the largest percentage of this. They face more barriers to education than boys, such as child marriage, early pregnancy, and traditional attitudes towards gender roles in the home and, when in school, they can face bias within education – access to traditionally male dominated subjects like STEM may be out of their grasp.

Girls working on an electronics project

How access to STEM education broadens girls' opportunities

Our latest school in Tanzania provides teaching in science and technology to the poorest children who have come into our care. Learning these new skills brings new hope and opportunities to the girls like Mercedes who now dreams of becoming a doctor. After seeing her mother lose a child in childbirth, Mercedes became determined to study so that she could become a doctor and help provide healthcare to the poorest and most marginalised people in Tanzania. With the education she is currently receiving at Kisarawe Girls School, she will be able to realise her dream. Her favourite subject is physics and she loves the challenge of learning this new subject.

Eva, our student from the girls’ school in Honduras,  always wanted to use her passion for physics and mathematics to make a difference in her community. In 2019, after finishing school with us she was accepted to Honduras’ finest agricultural university, Zamorano University, on a full scholarship thanks to the education she received in Tegucigalpa.

For the girls who receive a free education in our programmes, this access to STEM subjects is vital for them to achieve their dreams, and help redress the imbalance in women in STEM fields. By offering disadvantaged girls STEM education, we are directly addressing generations of gender inequality and giving them equal opportunity to thrive.

“For girls, safe and equal enrolment in secondary education can act as a powerful equalizer, ensuring all girls and boys access the same subjects, activities, and career choices.”

Human Rights Watch Report, 2017