In the village of Farato, girls need support that goes beyond their family's means.Future for Farato is a nonprofit organization that is committed to supporting education equality and the educational needs of over 100 girls in The Gambia, West Africa.
The Farato village houses a small rural community comprised of 40 families including children and adolescents. The village parents wish for their girls to have a better future, but lack the essentials needed for them to attend school.
Obstacles to educating girls
Culturally, girls are subordinate to the men in this Muslim country, although they have the same opportunities to attend school as their male counterparts. However, after school is out, the children fill different familial roles.
While boys are allowed to play football after school, girls must participate in tasks such as helping with younger children, assisting in preparing dinner, completing laundry and doing household chores. The only time girls have the opportunity to study is at night, when the daily tasks have been completed.
These traditional familial roles do not stop the children from attending school, it’s the lack of financial means. Children enrolled in school must obtain uniforms, books and tuition prior to enrollment.
An additional complication is the girls' access to sanitary products. Girls in this village are greatly disadvantaged. It is common for girls to stay home and miss school because they lack the ability to manage their hygiene when not at home.
Future for Farato offers support and services for girls who want to continue their education. With funding and in-kind donations provided by those who support the organization, girls are provided with books, tuition, uniforms and sanitary products.
A center for activities, reading and learning was established by Future for Farato. During the day, while the older children are in school, young children gather in the library.
The library uses reading readiness material to help the children get a head start on learning the English language. Educational videos, like Sesame Street (™), are played on a donated television set.
Future for Farato is fortunate enough to establish a volunteer — a village mother — who manages the library and activities.
Days for Girls kits
In conjunction with Days for Girls (DfG), a nonprofit that provides access to menstrual care and education, Future for Farato has distributed a total of 60 “DfG Kits”.
These reusable kits allow girls to manage their periods and attendance while enrolled in school. Days for Girls Kits include washable cotton pads, panties, a washcloth and a drawstring bag; other essentials are included and may vary.
The “little house” clinic
Most recently, Future for Farato opened a clinic in the village with the capacity to provide free treatments for minor wounds, administer over-the-counter pain medication and offer free medical advice from the nurse who manages the clinic.
The clinic nurse is now capable of seeing 4-7 patients per day. The ability to receive minor medical treatment has improved the lives of its patients. Residents no longer worry about infections and disease that can come as a result of untreated wounds.
For more information about Future for Farato, visit them here: www.futureforfarato.com