News from our Girls
On this page you can find out more about our girls and how our help is benefitting them, their families and communities.
News from the Emusoi Centre,Tanzania, where the CGEF (formerly CCLEF) has sponsored a number of girls.
The following picture shows six new graduates, along with their letters of thanks. They are all waiting for their exam results which will be announced mid-February 2016.
One of the girls, Nasiyanda, has asked to stay at Emusoi to await the results because she fears being hassled at home to marry. These girls receive a lot of pressure to get married because their families think they have finished school. Hopefully, all these girls will be able to go on to advanced level studies.
A wonderful success story so far, and a testament to the hard work of everyone at the Emusoi Centre. Congratulations to our girls!
Featured in Asian News: Asia has become the largest recipient of sponsorship from the UK based charity Commonwealth Girls Education Fund (CGEF), formerly the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund (CCLEF). The charity provides funding for the secondary education of capable girls who for financial reasons would otherwise be unable to attend school.
CGEF is entirely funded by donations and fund raising activities, and employs just one part time member of staff, who supports the efforts of the voluntary Board of Trustees. The charity has been historically well supported by members of both the business and social Asian communities. Most recently they were awarded a grant of £1000 by the Women’s India Association.
The charity also benefits from outstanding voluntary efforts from Asian individuals based in the UK. Their London 10k run campaign was led this year by 22 year old law student Jagravi Upadhyay. Under her superb voluntary leadership, the run raised a record amount for the charity, she was also a member of the organisational team for “Splendours of the Commonwealth” a glittering fundraising evening held in September at The May Fair hotel, London.
Jagravi was recently elected to the CGEF Board of Trustees, becoming their youngest Asian trustee in many years.
CGEF aims to raise enough funds to support around 450 girls. The cost of sponsoring this number of girls for five years of secondary education is over £500,000.
India currently benefits from having the largest number of CGEF sponsored girls in the Commonwealth, including a small group of very capable blind girls. The charity aims to continue to increase its numbers in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Nancy Tomee is a CGEF (formerly the CCLEF) sponsored girl who is fighting against Female Genital Mutilation (FMG).
This is a special short documentary on Nancy and education, specially made for the CGEF. Nancy: A One Girl Revolution is the story of Nancy Tomee (20), who for the last decade has fought her family, her tribe and deeply held traditions in Kenya. A brilliant speaker and a fearless taboo breaker she is leading a girl revolution - yet she’s still a schoolgirl. She wants to stop Female Genital Mutilation and promote equality for girls. Filmed over five years, this is the intimate story of her emerging as a leader - an African Suffragist facing the enormous task of transforming her tribe.
An unusual heroine, Nancy’s journey takes her from a mud hut in a remote part of Kenya to addressing the United Nations in New York at the General Assembly. This is Nancy’s true story told in a feature length observational documentary. It will make visible in intimate detail the lives of women who rarely, if ever, are heard. The battleground for Nancy is women’s ownership of their bodies and voices. There will be an impact campaign attached to help eradicate FGM and empower more female role models. The film is still being made but we do need your support to continue. Nancy's story is powerful and unique, and when you see the documentary, you can see why it had to be told.
The producer told us in her own moving words what prompted her to produce this film. "When in 2010 I walked into Nancy’s parents' compound, high on a far hill, miles away from any roads or modern amenities, I realised that within Nancy was a deep desire for change. This came from the knowledge that the life her mother suffered was abusive. It suffocated her potential, and even if it was ‘normal’ and traditional, it was wrong. She is in many ways an African Suffragist, for the themes of her desires are the same - equality and education for women and an end to the abuse. What astonished me then, and still does now, is where she found the courage to resist everyone and have such certainty about doing so."
"I could see the passion burning inside her. I had to tell her story; I could see she was on an archetypal journey of transformation and awakening to her own power - but not to empower herself, but to help others. I felt a real kinship with her which seemed to transcend race, culture and generation. When she found her voice she helped others find theirs; she chose to own her own body and sexuality as a woman which was very unusual for women in her tribe."
"The film will tease out Nancy’s connections to a much wider voice in which women are emerging to challenge the old political paradigms all over the world and demanding the inclusion of women to shape the world into a better place. Nancy has no idea of these global movements to get the feminine voice heard as a balance to the masculine yet I believe Nancy is part of this awakening of women everywhere. In the film I hope to show how we have far more in common with Nancy’s story than we at first imagine. The fears about women may be magnified in Nancy’s tribe but the same dynamics play out in more subtle ways across the western world. Nancy’s culture magnifies issues that are just less extreme within our own culture, and I want people to feel the empathy and connection I have with her from the film. That way, her story spreads to a much wider audience and her impact can be profound and positive."
The CCLEF, in collaboration with the India Association for the Blind, is sponsoring five blind girls at St Amalarakkini school in Tamil Nadu, India.
The CCLEF has also undertaken to sponsor an additional five girls in 2016 and 2017 bringing the total number of blind girls sponsored in that school to 15.
In India, Tamil Naud is the 11th largest state by area and the sixth most populous state.
The photos show CCLEF Trustee Anne Munt Davies who attended the opening ceremony of the new residential block, named in honour of Niti Patel, on 21 March 2015.
Niti's husband, DK Patel, pictured with Anne, raised the funds for the building with friends and supporters based in Hong Kong.
We visit our girls - Louisa Service, Patron of the CCL and Trustee of CCLEF (third from right), with sponsored girls in Grenada
CCLEF Sponsored Girl Nancy Tomee and her fight against FGM.
Recently, one of our sponsored girls, Nancy Tomee, had the opportunity to appear at the UN as part of her fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
Nancy resisted FGM for seven long years, enduring bullying and abuse before a local organisation intervened on her behalf. She is now an ambassador for change, demanding that the rights and welfare of adolescent girls, particularly those in Africa are supported globally. In Africa, girls continue to endure high rates of child marriage and early pregnancy, leading to lower levels of secondary school completion and higher levels of maternal death.
“I am representing those that are demanding that change, for each girl needs to be a source of further change, and I am an ambassador,” she said at the high-level dialogue, which was organized by the Organization of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) in partnership with UNFPA.
At the event, which coincided with the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, first ladies from around Africa and the world called on global leaders to support the rights and welfare of adolescent girls – particularly those in Africa, where girls continue to endure high rates of child marriage and early pregnancy, leading to lower levels of secondary school completion and higher levels of maternal death.- See more at: http://esaro.unfpa.org/public/news/pid/18413#sthash.U8yopHrP.dpufhttp://www.unfpa.org/public/home/news/pid/18321
Through the CCLEF, we still have direct communication with Nancy and her school. We knew about Nancy’s determination to fight FGM. Two years ago she wrote this to the CCLEF as part of her application:
"I would like to become a doctor in future because I would like to assist people in my community to know the consequences of Female Genital Mutilation. I am from a community which practices this and I was lucky to have been saved from this practice. "
Below is Nancy's story. Please join us in celebrating Nancy’s excitement and success, and please do share her story through social media and in any way you can.
We wish Nancy well in her education. She is currently sitting for her final exams so who knows where she will go next...wherever it is, she is hopefully safe.