DECORAH, Iowa – A Luther College student has received a $10,000 grant for her idea to empower young women in the African nation of Liberia through sexual reproductive health education.
“Empowering young women with education gives them the ability to make sound decisions about their health and bodies. Overall, this leads to a greater sense of awareness, strong self-esteem, purpose orientation and high achievements,” says Junita Sangare. “With impact projects like ours, we believe we can achieve this reality for every young woman in Liberia, across Africa, and in the larger world.”
Sangare says 67% of adolescent girls with no education are either pregnant or have at least one child to care for, which is a life-altering struggle in a developing country like Liberia. Her project was essentially a seven-day intensive workshop for 75 women between the ages of 15 to 20 in two Liberia locations. Working with a team of eight youth leaders, Sangare says she developed a life planning curriculum based on the educational resources provided by the World Health Organization on adolescent health and development. The project covered topics like sex education, teenage pregnancy prevention, gender roles and equality.
“Being a member of this community, I have seen firsthand the detrimental realities that these challenges pose to young women, including my very own sisters and relatives. From being a high school dropout to street vendors and then diving deeper and deeper into poverty that is oftentimes extremely difficult to recover from,” says Sangare.
The $10,000 grant comes from Davis Projects for Peace, which was established by Kathryn W. Davis on her 100th birthday to fund selected students with $10,000 to create and build peace anywhere in the world. Since the creation of the grant in 2007, Luther students have established 22 projects in 21 countries. In total, 36 Luther students have been awarded this prestigious grant to spread sustainable peace around the world.
“It brings me nothing but great joy to do this work. This is the space where I feel fulfilled and purposeful,” says Sangare. “This project has left me with a strong sense of hope—hope that there are still plenty of chances to create a better world. I am proud to say that our successes have extended to starting a non-profit called Educate Women Liberia under which we hope to continue this work.”
Source: U S. Online Outlet
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