11 Million Girls at Risk of Leaving School Forever

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating to the world’s most marginalized and vulnerable girls. Along with the threat from the virus itself, there are disruptions like school closures, loss of familial income, political instability, and social isolation that are rolling back decades of progress on girls’ rights.

Girls who already faced poverty, discrimination, abuse, and neglect are now at greater risk than ever before of dropping out of school. They are at risk of undergoing profound violations of their rights like child marriage, underage pregnancies, child labour, and female genital mutilation (FGM).

UNESCO estimates that 11 million girls are at risk of dropping out and never returning to school. That's on top of the 132 million girls who were already out of school when the pandemic began. These girls are twice as likely as boys to drop out and stay out, even after the pandemic is over. Two million more girls are expected to undergo FGM and 2.5 million more to be married as children due to the pandemic’s social disruptions.

But girls are refusing to give up. They know that education is key to their futures. Education cultivates a girl’s agency, her confidence, her commitment to learn, and her hope. For girls, education is the foundation of an equitable future where they are respected and successful.

It All Starts with a Seat

We believe in a world of incredible possibilities for girls, possibilities they can reach if only they are given the opportunity. Saving a girl’s seat in the classroom is that opportunity.

Every girl has a unique set of challenges she is facing. But every girl has the capacities she needs to overcome these challenges. She only needs the chance to unlock them.

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By saving a girl’s s seat in school, you are helping her return to school and finish her education, and empowering her with the confidence, knowledge, and supportive spaces she needs for success.

Every seat you save for the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized girls helps a girl return to school, learn, develop, and claim her rights.

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Girls want to learn. Play-based learning in the classroom helps them discover their talents and strengthens their commitment to staying in school.

Every Seat Has a Story

Girls are standing up to the inequalities the pandemic is making worse. Here are just a few of the 1.15 million girls Right To Play empowers each year:

Balla, Mali
After Balla’s father died, she had to work in a gold mine in rural Mali to help her family. She returned to school with the help of a volunteer trained by Right To Play, and fights against the scourge of child labour in her village.

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Martha, Ghana
When her school in Ghana was closed by COVID-19, Martha's only alternative was to find work. For a girl like her, that meant grueling work carrying heavy loads cheaply. But when Right To Play launched at-home lessons in her village, Martha was able to avoid child labour and go back to learning.

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Claire, Uganda
Claire dropped out of school after she became pregnant from a sexual assault. After her child was born, Claire had to fight to go back to school, aided by Right To Play-trained teachers. Now, she stands up for girls’ rights as a Junior Leader in her school.

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Learn more about Balla, Martha, and Claire here.

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