05.19.17 / Category: Impact - Grant Awards

Grantee Spotlight – Caravan to Class

The Circle of Sisterhood supports entities that remove barriers to education for girls and women, uplifting them from poverty and oppression. Because of the generous support of our donors, we’ve had an impact in twenty-two countries since our founding in 2010.

The (Wo)man, the myth, the legend: Timbuktu: What is Timbuktu? It can be defined as “the most distant place imaginable.” Phrases that develop this idea include “from here to Timbuktu” when describing a very long journey.

Some may be surprised, but Timbuktu is a real place in Mali, 12 miles north of the Niger River on the southern border of the Sahara Desert homing approximately 50,000 people. For centuries, Timbuktu was a place of historically significant scholarship, highlighted by UNESCO World Heritage sites. Despite this, more than half of the 900 villages in the Timbuktu region are currently without schools. Circle of Sisterhood has honored Caravan to Class a $4,000 grant to help them bring literacy to children in villages around the fabled and historic Timbuktu, Mali.

In Africa, one in three adults is illiterate. In Mali, the illiteracy rate is 75%, and in the villages in which Caravan to Class operates the illiteracy rate is often above 90%. Since Caravan to Class’s foundation in 2010, they have constructed eight schools, bringing literacy to more than 1,000 children each year after the school is built and having local women on salary. Taking it a step further, they are making it their mission to achieve sustainability of their schools and the feeling that education is important for the matrilineal and matriarchal heritage of the Tuareg. From Circle of Sisterhood’s grant, they are able to launch a Female Adult Literacy and Empowerment Curriculum that will teach women to read, write and calculate. In addition, they will help the women gain skills in their daily lives: maternal and child health, hygiene, and sanitation and the management of business affairs of family life

Caravan to Class

“While we provide food, uniforms and community gatherings in an effort to alleviate these broader [financial] issues, we cannot truly reach our long-term goal unless the mothers of the children that attend our schools prioritize the importance of going to school. Parental – and especially maternal – literacy has a significant impact on the literacy acquisition of children.” – Caravan to Class

CTC and Circle of Sisterhood share the belief that education is the answer to many of the global challenges we face, particularly in underserved places like Timbuktu, Mali. Because of the amazing donors of Circle to Sisterhood, we are helping the women of the villages of Timbuktu prioritize education, which increases the chance that the young girls will stay in school, which leads to a decrease of young marriage and young birth.

This blog post was written by Chloe Edwards, a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, past VP of Programming on PHC, and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. She has taught English and worked in marketing abroad. Chloe is currently traveling around the world learning about different cultures. She is passionate about finding ways to bring positivity and empowerment to people to create equality amongst everyone.

Want to share your Circle of Sisterhood story? Contact Mia McCurdy at blog@circleofsisterhood.org