Coming of Age Project
Our loving guidance and support are vitally important to HIO girls as they navigate awkward teenage years. We’re committed to helping our adolescent girls understand, take care of, and be proud of their developing bodies. HIO interventions help girls build the confidence needed to break down cultural barriers—barriers that lead to harsh, dead-end lives on the street for far too many Nepali women.
We were delighted to begin partnering with Days for Girls International (DfG) in 2019. DfG increases access to menstrual care and helps break down stigmas and limitations for girls and women in developing countries. Two DfG volunteers—environmental science majors from Kathmandu University—helped HIO girls at Loyalty Academy learn about about human reproduction, the menstrual cycle, feminine hygiene, self-defense, and sexual abuse prevention. DfG will provide similar workshops for the remaining HIO girls during the 2019-20 school year. We’re recommending that all of our partner schools consider adding DfG’s valuable workshops to their health education programming, including new workshops being piloted for boys.
How You Can Help
HIO will give a DfG reusable menstrual kit to each HIO girl in fourth grade and up. To start this initiative, we need about 100 kits. Then, about 15 kits annually. DFG kits are manufactured by Nepali women at the Days for Girls Nepal office near Strong Roots Preschool.
Your $25 donation will purchase three reusable menstrual kits for HIO girls. It will also help encourage women to contribute to economic sustainability by investing in their own needs.
Piggy Bank Project
Saving Money, Changing Lives
Shifting our girls’ understanding of how financial systems work could help break the endless cycle of poverty they live in. In August, 2018, our Nepal staff gave piggy banks to girls at the Bijeswori School and encouraged them to save. The first Piggy Bank Project was so rewarding, we decided to expand it. Each and every HIO girl will now receive piggy banks of her own.
Many girls decorated the first piggy bank pots with brightly colored designs. They thought of creative ways to fill them up. For six months, they squirreled away rupees—everything from extra pocket change to money they’d earned doing odd jobs. In January 2019, 20 wide-eyed and eager HIO girls ceremoniously broke open their piggy bank pots and counted up their treasures. What a delightful moment!
Rewarding the girls’ heartfelt efforts will further encourage their savings. We’ll give a modest cash award to each girl bringing a piggy bank pot she’s filled up herself back to school. Some of our girls’ mothers cleverly thought of a way to apply newfound skills they’ve learned in our women’s literacy program. They offered to set up a co-operative bank account to help children see their savings grow.
How encouraging that the practical lessons we teach are helping HIO mothers and their girls rewrite their script for success. Teaching our girls early on to exercise control over their own money is a wonderful way to empower them.
How You Can Help
For $500 per program, we can encourage our girls to develop savings habits that promote financial security in the future. Your donation helps purchase 160 piggy banks and contributes to festive celebrations that recognize our girls’ efforts. Piggy bank pots are distributed and opened twice—once in April at the start of the school year and again in October for the Dashain holiday.