Walk Benefits African Girls

by Nadia Smith
Contributing Writer

“One hour and a half of your life can change the life of 45 girls,” said Flaget Nally, U.S. liaison for fundraising of the Tanzania Girls School Project.

Nally came to Transylvania on Thursday, March 19 to promote the upcoming 3K fundraiser walk for the project “Giant Steps for African Girls.”

The name came from the idea that “through this walk and through these fundraisers we’re taking giant steps for them so they can then take giant steps themselves,” Nally said.

Nally said the school plans to help advance education for Tanzanian girls in three major ways. It will be taught in English from nursery school and after. Though Swahili is the second language of Tanzania, in order to attend University students must be proficient in English. Normally students don’t begin to learn English until high school and the proposed school would give the girls a head start.

Nally said the school would also provide a safe haven for girls from rape and sexual abuse. One of many dangers facing young girls is being sold into the dowry system too young and becoming one of multiple wives of an older man. The school could provide more opportunities for these young girls and their families.

The school also plans to provide a better quality education across the board than is typically available for the girls, especially in the areas of math and science.

The school is a multi-phase project beginning with a nursery school for about 45 girls and expanding from there to a K-12 school that would educate around 800 girls, Nally said.

Land and a facility for the nursery school have been purchased but needs to be renovated. Administration of the school will be handled by the Ugandan Missionary Sisters of Mary who already teach in 30 schools across Uganda. The fundraising goal for the first phase of the project is $80,000 and the goal for the entire project is $800,000.

At the last walk held in Bardstown, Ky. almost 200 people participated and raised around $20,000. The walk in Lexington will be on April 26 with registration at 3 p.m. and the walk beginning at 4 p.m. at the University of Kentucky’s stadium.

Nally said participants are welcome to walk, run or even rollerblade or scooter the course. Participants may also walk with their dogs. There will be pizza and door prizes. Whoever raises the most money will receive a prize of $100.

The goal is for each person to raise at least $100 but Nally said any amount is acceptable; it is more important to raise awareness. Those interested can sign up and download a pledge form on the Web site http://www.educateafricangirls.com.

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