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Adventure Travelers Are Compelled to Support Girls' Education

©World Education
Girls like this one are able to stay in school with support from the Northern Mali Secondary Scholarship Program.

Bill Connor could not forget what he witnessed in Mali, one of many destinations he visited during his travel to more than 22 countries with Starquest Expeditions, a Seattle-based adventure travel company. "We learned about the extremely low rates of literacy, particularly for girls and women in Mali, and many of my traveling companions wanted to find some way to give back. After I returned, I looked on the internet for groups working in Mali and after seeing that World Education received the highest rating on Charity Navigator (an independent evaluator for nonprofits in the US), I called the organization and learned about the Northern Mali Girls' Secondary School Scholarship Program."

The cost of one night in a hotel in Mali—or about $100—can support a girl to stay in school for an entire year.

"We just couldn't ignore the opportunity to make a difference for these girls. This made so much sense, so it was easy to ask my companions to give." Bill and others raised $8000, enough to support the education of 80 girls for an entire year. "I really appreciate World Education's focus on rooting the program locally—funds are dispersed and girls' progress is tracked by parents and other members of local PTAs. Whole communities are visibly promoting girls' education. With so many worthy causes to support, it's important to me that organizations are thinking strategically about how their programs will develop over time. I felt confident that our gifts would go to good use."

World Education scholarships currently support 620 secondary school girls in Northern Mali. In addition to scholarship support, the program links girls with mentors, and works with local Mother's Associations to highlight the importance of girls' education across the greater community, including support from fathers, community and religious leaders, and government officials.


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