Who We Are–Founder Edition

Reflecting on her experiences as a science teacher with the Peace Corps in the North West region of Cameroon the things that made the strongest impression on Anne were: the disparity between boys and girls in the last few years of secondary school; the attitude of many girls believing themselves to be inferior to the boys.  She also noticed the struggles girls in particular faced in staying in school: their brothers were prioritized when paying school fees, they had extra responsibilities at home such as cooking, working in the market and cleaning prevented girls doing homework or attending school, some even were married and started families before they were able to finish secondary school.  Being the type who likes to leave situations better than she first finds them Anne felt compelled to continue supporting the youth of Cameroon even after she returned to the United States.  A2Empowerment started as a small side project that slowly grew into a larger more fulfilling piece of her life.

Shortly after starting A2Empowerment Anne began working on a Masters of Public Health and International Development at Tulane University. Her studies eventually took her overseas again.  Currently she resides in Jordan supporting the response to the Syrian Crisis.

Claire Kelly, RPCV, Swims for A2Empowerment in Dakar!

Claire Kelly did the Peace Corps in the Extreme North of Cameroon from 2010-2012 and, from that time, one of her fondest memories is working with the local girls’ club.  Through A2empowerment, 5 members of her girls’ club received scholarships. Claire has stayed connected to A2Empowerment following her Close of Service, helping to fundraise, translate and rank scholarships.  She currently lives in Senegal working for Whole Planet Foundation as Microfinance Field Program Manager for Africa/Middle East regions.
This Sunday, Claire is swimming in the Dakar / Goree race for A2Empowerment!  Her goal is to raise money for 10 additional scholarships that will help fund the education of girls who would otherwise struggle to stay in school.  As she saw first hand in Cameroon, the fees for enrollment, exams, uniforms, etc. really start to add up as girls continue through high school.  When a family’s financial situation gets tight, parents often prioritize the education of their sons over that of their daughters.  For example, in 2012 she taught the “6eme class,” which is about the equivalent of 6th grade, and the class was split mostly 50/50 between boys and girls.  But, her highest level class, “Terminale,” had only 4 girls enrolled.  Somewhere along the way, girls drop out of school, often for early marriages.   Unfortunately, the situation in Northern Cameroon has deteriorated since Claire’s departure.  As if it wasn’t already difficult enough for girls to attend school, Boko Haram’s activities have crossed over the Cameroonian border with Nigeria and even forced some schools to close down for periods of time last academic year.  At this time, it is especially critical to encourage girls’ education in the area.  And Claire feels strongly that A2empowerment’s scholarships, at $75 each, are a great way to have a really high impact on girls’ lives. To support Claire Kelly’s swim, please donate here.
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