From Chicago to Malawi: Students unite to help other girls succeed

Chicago's Very Own
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CHICAGO — Female.  Educated.  Empowered.   That's the slogan some local teens are exemplifying as they work to educate girls around the world.

Girls Supporting Girls is a nonprofit that provides funding for literacy programs and construction of schools in third world countries.  With 66 million school aged girls around the world not in school, the program is geared toward educating and empowering the youngsters. And the organization requires that half of the student body of these newly constructed schools are female.

The organization also works to empower girls right here at home.

In summer of 2018, Gaby Hart took a life changing trip with her mother to Malawi, Africa as part of Girls Supporting Girls to help build a school for girls.

The trip inspired her to do more and when she got home, all she could think about was going back to build another school.  But this time, with she wanted help from her friends.

“I got all my friends together and we started this club,” Gaby said. “We started raising money and all that stuff and hopefully we can go back to Malawi and build another school.”

They named the club “Girls Supporting Girls Jr”  and it includes Gaby and about a dozen of her friends from St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, a;l of whom were eager to help.

They hold weekly meetings, set up individual fundraising websites, and they’ve hounded friends and family for donations. The ambitious bunch has already gotten $10,000 of the $30,000 needed to build a school.

Courntey Landa is with Build On, the partnering organization in charge of logistics.  She admires the girls’ spunk.

“I think the unique thing about Gaby and Girls Supporting Girls Jr. is they hit the ball rolling,” she said. “This is their first project that they every worked on and they are going big and they want to support that one school as quickly as possible.”

But there is more to it than fundraising.  When they’re ready to break ground this team will make the trek to Malawi for at least a week, immersing themselves in the Malawian culture, living with families, eating the local food and learning to communicate through translators.  And they’ll work alongside villagers to build the school brick by brick.

And because many of those in the village can’t read,  building a new school means opening up a whole new world of discovery.

Girls Supporting Girls Jr are Chicago’s Very Own.

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