{{show_title_date || "Helping girls from impoverished countries finish school, 8/2/13, 1:17 PM ET"}}

How to help girls graduate and break the cycle of poverty


The statistics are alarming.

In 2007 Unicef found that nearly one out of every five girls in the developing world does not complete a primary education. Equally staggering statistics from Plan International show that only one out of every three countries has as many girls as boys in secondary schools. And according to the World Bank, the rate of female students who enroll in secondary school is as low as 32% in some countries, yet less than 2 cents of every development dollar goes to girls.
So Tammy Tibbetts decided to go and do something about it.
“I was the first in my family to graduate from college,” said Tibbetts, founder of the girls’ education advocacy organization, She’s the First, on msnbc Friday. “I did some volunteering after my graduation in Liberia, which exposed me to the issue for the first time. And I saw the tremendous opportunity there was with my generation, and the power of using our social media and creativity to find a solution.”
She’s the First is a nonprofit organization devoted to helping girls in developing countries be the first in their families to graduate high school. Experts agree that investing in girls’ education leads to their having fewer children, a better job, higher wages, and a greater chance at breaking the cycle of poverty.
“To date, She’s the First has 250 scholars, and we’ve funded over 500 years of education” said Tibbetts. “A cool way that we’ve done that is through a campaign that we call, ‘The Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-off,’ where students in the fall have bake sales at their schools during the same week.”
“They have raised thousands upon thousands of dollars to send girls to school,” said Tibbetts. “And 100% of that money goes directly to the girls.”
College students also play a huge role in the organization through campus chapters that host fundraisers and spread awareness. No amount of effort is too small to change a girl’s life.
“For example, in Nepal, it only costs $300 a year,” said Tibbetts. “$25 a month will support a girl. And the ROI–[rate on investment]–what she’ll contribute to her nation’s GDP, and the amount of money that she’ll be able to raise to support her family and break the cycle of poverty in her community is amazing.”
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