Empowering grandmothers for children's education

by The Grandmother Project, Inc
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Empowering grandmothers for children's education
Teachers benefit from grandmothers' knowledge
Teachers benefit from grandmothers' knowledge

During the past 4 months, over one thousand grandmother visits have educated children in local schools about local history, traditions and culture.  Throughout the school year, grandmothers volunteer as teaching assistants to help connect the national curriculum to local traditions and culture.  Research has shown that creating links with the local community can improve educational outcomes and ensure children – especially girls - stay in school.     

 

During this same period 3 teacher workshops were held, which trained a total of 89 teachers to improve their teaching skills and integrate local cultural knowledge and values into the curriculum.  Each teacher received a teacher’s guide and will be assisted with visits from local grandmothers who are experts in traditional knowledge and culture. 

 

Four Intergenerational Forums were also held, bringing together leaders from both genders and all three generations to discuss the most pressing issues in the community.  Education is a concern not only for parents, but for all members of the community.  As explained by grandmother Awa Camara, the Intergenerational Forum was “a chance to have a meeting that reminds us of the importance of children’s education, which must always remain at the heart of our concerns.”

 

Thanks to your generosity education for all children in Vélingara has improved significantly to ensure that it truly reflects their cultural reality.  Your continued support ensures that more children and communities can benefit!

Community dialogue is key to improving education
Community dialogue is key to improving education
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Grandmothers teach children about their traditions
Grandmothers teach children about their traditions

In the past 3 months a total of 394 education activities have taken place in Vélingara.  Involving over 7,000 people in various community-based education and training activities with teachers and grandmothers, Grandmother Project’s education program works to improve educational outcomes for the children of Vélingara – especially girls. 

 

Passing on positive cultural values and traditions is important to families, but schools rarely teach them.  With the help of grandmothers, teachers are able to integrate community history, cultural values and traditions into lessons so that schools reflect the local community and are no longer viewed as foreign institutions.  During the past few months, 511 grandmothers have participated in 385 school visits to support teachers and educate children of their culture and traditions.

 

GMP's innovative strategy promotes teaching of positive cultural values in schools using empowered grandmothers as "teaching assistants". In order to do this, GMP has developed Grandmother-Teacher training workshops to support the integration and instruction of traditional knowledge and cultural history in schools.  In the past few months, 2 Grandmother-Teacher training workshops were attended by 60 grandmothers and 50 teachers.

 

Teachers are also instrumental to the integration of additional materials that more closely reflect the culture and traditions of the local community.  6 Teacher Training Workshops have been held recently, in which 120 teachers learned how to use 5 reading books on cultural values and integrate traditional values education into classroom lessons.

 

Additionally, during recent school vacations, 5,178 schoolchildren benefitted from educational and cultural activities organized by Grandmother Project, which also brought together 638 grandmothers, 406 mothers, 322 fathers and a further 276 community members and leaders. 

 

Everyone loves when grandmother comes to class
Everyone loves when grandmother comes to class
Teacher becomes student and grandmother teaches
Teacher becomes student and grandmother teaches
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Grandmothers bring the classroom outside
Grandmothers bring the classroom outside

One of the barriers for children – particularly girls – to attending school is that often families do not feel that the school reflects nor promotes their values.  The school is seen as a foreign institution that neither understands nor respects the local culture and traditions.  Grandmothers serve as a bridge between the school and families in the community.  They impart traditional wisdom and knowledge and support children’s well-being and development.

 

“Elders have a very important role to play in the transmission of values in the family, in communities and in school. They witness everything that goes on in children’s lives today and are repositories of many experiences. Because of this, they are like teachers who deserve to be listened to by the younger generations.”

 Saydou, Teacher in Velingara

 

Grandmothers are committed to working together with teachers to improve school-community relations, but also to ensure that children are connected with their culture and their traditions.  Grandmothers see their investment in children’s lives as their responsibility to children and the community as a whole.

 

“A woman gives birth to a child but the child belongs to the whole community. If the child hasn’t received a good education it’s not only a loss for the community, but also a failure of the same community.”

 Aissatou, Grandmother

 

Your continued support of Grandmother Project – Change through Culture ensures that children not only go to school, but that they are connected to their culture, their identity.  Grandmothers are not only the guardians of tradition, but they are also champions of children’s education.  Thank you for supporting our work with grandmothers and teachers for children’s education and development.

Grandmothers improve children's well-being
Grandmothers improve children's well-being
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Grandmothers are champions for girls' education
Grandmothers are champions for girls' education

Grandmothers are essential to ensuring that girls go to school – and continue their studies.  While girls make up close to half of the student body in primary schools in Velingara, southern Senegal, few girls complete their secondary education.   We all know that education ensures a more equitable future for girls, but sometimes there isn’t the family or community support necessary to make sure that happens. 

Grandmother Leaders are a bridge between the community and the schools. They make sure that schools reflect the local community both through their presence and their collaboration with teachers.  Grandmothers educate other community members about the importance of girls completing secondary school and they work with parents to support their daughter’s education. Grandmothers do all of this because they are committed to improving the future for girls in Velingara. 

Thank you for helping grandmothers ensure that schools in Velingara are able to support all children – but especially girls.  Your support – particularly during this difficult period – makes all the difference. 

“Grandmothers teach us to appreciate studying. They say that they themselves didn’t have the chance to go to school and that we should make the most of the opportunity that we have to do so. They ask our parents to let us study and to not give us away in marriage at a very early age.”

Diénabou, adolescent girl

“Grandmothers travel to schools to tell stories to children. They talk with the teachers about girls’ education and encourage the young girls to persevere in their studies. When it comes to child marriage, grandmothers ask parents to let their daughter continue her studies. When it comes to the matter of teenage pregnancies, grandmothers request that young girls not visit boys. Before, grandmothers told us that they were neither our mothers nor our fathers. They left us to our own devices. Now, however, they no longer feel discouraged, they give us advice, and they are much closer to young people.”

Fatoumata, adolescent girl

Grandmothers are key to girls finishing school
Grandmothers are key to girls finishing school
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Grandmothers help girls stay in school
Grandmothers help girls stay in school

 

School has returned to Velingara and children aren’t the only ones in the classroom.  Grandmothers provide an important part of children’s schooling and connect them to their history, traditions and culture.  When grandmothers are involved in the education of children, they have the ability to support children to stay in school – particularly girls. 

 

Frequently, parents do not support girls to continue their schooling.  Parents often see schooling as dangerous; an activity that does not reflect their culture or traditions that could also lead to teen pregnancy.  With the help of grandmothers in schools, girls are supported in their education and parents feel comfortable in sending their girls to school, knowing that grandmothers are there to look out for their daughters’ well-being. 

 

Grandmothers know that girls must finish their schooling in order to be part of the future. As one grandmother noted: “We must let the girls continue their studies. This is very important because today a girl can become a minister; she will help you and she will benefit as well.”

 

Thanks to your support grandmothers have been able to continue their work in the schools, ensuring that girls are able to continue their education and reach their dreams.  Join us this International Women’s Day in celebrating the powerful work of the grandmothers. 

Grandmothers improve school outcomes
Grandmothers improve school outcomes
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Organization Information

The Grandmother Project, Inc

Location: Chevy Chase, MD - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @thegm_project
Project Leader:
Judi Aubel
Chevy Chase, MD United States
$24,537 raised of $34,000 goal
 
121 donations
$9,463 to go
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