Research proves that education of women is the single most effective way to lift families up from extreme poverty. So at MBB, we put education at the core of our mission and our programs.
Educating women is powerful in itself; that power is amplified when we connect MBB scholars with one another. Together, they become advocates for change in their communities, countries, and beyond.
In cultures that undervalue women, MBB’s leadership programs waken women & girls to their dignity and teach them the skills to become future leaders.
Seeds for Future Generations
Giving back is an important part of leadership and a desire we instill in every MBB Scholar. In South Sudan, our scholars give back to their communities in many ways: they visit prisoners, help disabled adults in their villages, and tutor younger students. They also come up with unique, inspiring ways to pay it forward. Three MBB Scholars studying at a high school located in a desert have initiated a tree-planting campaign to beautify their campus, provide shade, and improve the environment. The Scholars reached out to the United Nations and Windle Trust International to obtain donated seedlings, then motivated their entire senior class to participate in planting, watering and protecting the young trees. MBB salutes their leadership!
We focus on 3 goals
Even the most rudimentary education is out of reach for desperately poor girls and women. In South Sudan, parents send only their sons to school. In Haiti it is poverty, not marginalization, that keeps girls out of school. 90% of schools are private, requiring tuition that most families cannot afford. MBB provides a grant to the only all-girl primary school in the rural region where we work and has awarded over 160 high school scholarships to young women there.
MBB offers skills training classes to adult women in Haiti, and small business development training and loans to S.Sudanese women in refugee camps. These projects enable women to lift themselves out of extreme poverty through their own hard work. Sewing, catering, baking, making soap, operating a restaurant: all of these things, and more, bring revenue into cash-strapped families.
We may take it for granted that women are equal to their fathers and husbands and sons. But this is not accepted everywhere. In all of the ways that MBB helps women and girls to learn, to connect and to lead, we affirm their human dignity. We equip them with leadership skills and confidence to use their voice and their talents in promoting basic human rights for all women and girls: Safety. Water. Shelter. Schooling. Decision-making. Employment. Voting.
MBB uses education, radio programs, annual leadership trainings, peer support and alumnae networking to advance the advocacy goals of the women and girls with whom we work.
“I was nothing by then, but I am somebody today.”
Moriku overcame a terrible childhood and then, after being abandoned, she put herself through primary and secondary school by farming. She fought off loneliness and discouragement. She clung to her dream of becoming a nurse. MBB gave her that chance with a scholarship. Moriku (whose name means “I do not fear”) is now the school nurse for 600 girls at St Bakhita Primary School in South Sudan. She’s also their role model.
Love-Talia, an MBB high school Scholar, lives in the mountains of Haiti with her parents and grandfather. They grow vegetables and make charcoal for a living. She loves being in school. “Our only problem,” she says, “is that the roof leaks a lot whenever it rains.”
Dak’s great sorrow is that when her village was attacked and her family killed, “I could not hold my dead children in my arms.” She fled and eventually landed in a refugee camp in Uganda. There, to her horror, she saw the enemy tribe who had murdered all she held precious. She was terrified, hiding in her hut day after day. Desperation prompted her to sign up for the MBB micro-loan program, even though it meant interacting with the tribe she feared. Now, she says, “We are living as friends. We share a business together. We eat together. We laugh together. It was MBB that brought us together.”
National Geographic photographer Alison Wright accompanied Sr Marilyn Lacey to our impact areas in East Africa and Haiti.