Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP) is a Chicago-based NGO focused on advancing education and literacy in rural Africa. In Senegal where we work, two-thirds of women aged 15 and up cannot read or write and only 27% of girls go to secondary school (UNESCO). Moreover, in the Fatik region of Senegal, 90% of schools lack libraries or reading rooms (ACR). WGEP is working to change this. The Our Sisters Read program engages and supports primary school children, their families and communities to create and strengthen a culture of reading while reducing the gender gap in reading and education. Through Our Sisters Read, we are building libraries full of fun and engaging story books and literacy resources and educating and mobilizing communities to support education and reading.
One challenge for Our Sisters Read is that electricity is not widely available in the communities we serve. Consequently, people often go without light or resort to using kerosene lamps to provide lighting at night. Kerosene can be dangerous due to its fumes and and flammability. On the other hand, without light, students cannot read or study and household work cannot be done. This is where LuminAID comes in! LuminAID’s solar lamps provide a safe, high-quality and renewable source of lighting for our beneficiaries. With their solar lamps, our scholars are able to study and read past dark.
LuminAID lanterns have made doing well in school much easier for WGEP scholars like Aminata (pictured with lantern on wrist). Before having the opportunity to take a lantern home, Aminata had no way to read or study after dark. “Now I can do my assignments and read during my freetime at night. I like to read storybooks to my younger sister and show her the pictures!”
Through the Our Sisters Read program, WGEP reaches 8,000 students like Aminata in rural Senegal, providing them with a selection of over 9,000 literacy resources and 4,000 LuminAID solar lamps! Now, 69% of teachers report that their students are more engaged during reading lessons as compared to years past before Our Sisters Read.
Thanks to unprecedented access to resources, including story books and solar lanterns, thousands of students in rural Senegal are now more excited to read and learn than ever before!
Contributed by the Women's Global Education Project Team