The TEJ Initiative is designed as an adjunct program with the purpose of mentoring girls who are attending secondary school (grades 7-10) in rural villages in developing countries.
In Nepal the primary school attendance rate for girls is 95% while the secondary school attendance rate for girls is 38%. This huge gap in the enrollment ratio highlights the discrimination towards girls for higher education. This can lead to to unemployment, lack of information about basic healthcare and health rights, early marriage and early pregnancies. Each additional year of education for a girl leads to up to 25% increase in their income. Educated girls are empowered and are capable of making life choices on their own to fulfill their dreams. Educating the girls will help improve the health of their family as well because an educated girl will be able to relay the information to her parents, especially their mother regarding their health and the health of the younger children in the family. While giving these vulnerable girls an opportunity to continue their education is important, it is equally important for them to feel empowered with the education that they have. Most of the curriculum in Nepali schools is not based on this concept. To see change in Nepal the change has to come from within, from the leaders and from the women.
TEJ curriculum was written by Dr. Anju Ranjit, of Harvard University, and includes topics that are not usually discussed in the schools, including personal hygiene, STD’s and human trafficking. We have also supplied each girl enrolled in the program with a menstrual hygiene kit for them to use each month. Please see our website, www.projectforavillage.org, for more information.