Snag That Dream Job: I wanna...help girls get an education!
Sure, there are the mornings you hit the snooze button three times because you’re too tired to get out bed, or you can’t stand to look (much less eat) the school lunch, but you have to admit: getting an education really rocks. It gives you the resources and know-how to pursue your dreams and live the awesome life you deserve.
That’s why She’s the First was founded to raise money to help girls from Africa go to school and learn from teachers who will inspire them to dream BIG!
We chatted with She’s the First founder Tammy Tibbetts who inspired us BIG time—because every girl deserves to be the first. Including you!
SD: What is “She's the First” and what does it do?
TT: She’s the First is a campaign that, above all, promotes the importance of educating girls around the world. Did you know that in Africa, more than half of girls don’t even complete primary school? We can help change that! With an education, every girl has the opportunity to be the “first” to achieve her own unique goal. We connect you with schools and foundations that let you sponsor a girl’s education in the developing world.
SD: Why can't some girls in African countries go to school?
TT: In Africa and many third-world countries, free public education doesn’t exist. In the US, we get so stressed out by our homework and tests that we forget how lucky we are to even have the opportunity to learn. We think about what we could be doing instead of studying—playing games, shopping, watching movies, right? But in other countries, the alternatives to not being in school are much worse. If you aren’t in school, you’re working, usually in factories or on the field, in jobs that pay next to nothing.
Many families cannot afford the tuition to send all their children to school. It’s common to send sons to school rather than daughters, since daughters traditionally move away after they're married—so parents see the son’s education as a better investment. But the truth is, for every extra year a girl is educated, her future income can increase by as much as 20 percent!
SD: I don't have any money to give to She's the First, but I want to be involved! How can I spread the word?
TT: You can support the cause without spending a cent! First, watch the PSA video we shot with musical artist JoJo and then tell all your friends about it! You can embed the video on your Facebook page or MySpace blog, fan us on Facebook and follow us on twitter, too! Promoting awareness is the first step. You will inspire the people who have the money to sponsor a girl’s education to do so!
SD: Is there anything I can do with my school to support?
TT: Sure! You could create a ‘penny wars’ challenge among the classrooms in your school and have students collect coins, with the winners getting a pizza party. Meanwhile, all that change adds up! Drop the pennies, quarters, nickels and dimes into a CoinStar machine and with the cash, make a donation to one of the schools in the She’s the First network. Or, you could fundraise with a bake sale, car wash, or craft sale.
SD: What does being "the first" mean for girls in Africa?
TT: Being a “first” for these girls means receiving an education so that they can achieve something that has never been done before in their family, community, or country. They are finding the courage to lead where there might not be a path to follow.
SD: What does being "the first" mean for me?
TT: Living in the US, you have so many examples of strong women who have come before you and broken barriers…the first women to vote, the first women to be elected to the Senate and Congress, the first women to fly airplanes—the list goes on! But you can always be your own unique first.
I am the first in my family to move to New York City on my own and to travel to Africa. In your own life, you are your own first priority. By studying hard, you are investing in yourself, and you are opening doors so that you can be “first” to do something. With an education, you can be anything!
To find out how you can help, visit shesthefirst.org to learn more about getting involved!
BLOG IT OUT! How do you help others? Always wanted to work for a good cause? What charities do you support? What's your dream job?