Grantee Spotlight – GirlForward
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 eighteen countries since our founding in 2010.
One of the many organizations Circle of Sisterhood has been able to provide funding to is GirlForward. In the past two years, the Circle of Sisterhood has awarded $10,000 in overall support to their Camp GirlForward program.
Founded in Chicago in 201l, GirlForward is the first organization in the United States designed to increase opportunities and educational achievement among refugee girls, harnessing the unique potential of girls to end cycles of poverty.
Since 2007, over 5,000 refugees have been resettled in Chicago. Comprising approximately 15% of this number, adolescent girls are a small but critical group. Living in families splintered by war, with parents/guardians with limited or no education, girls take on overwhelming responsibilities and are more isolated than their male counterparts. They become translators, caregivers, and financial contributors, all while trying to adjust and thrive in a new environment. This unique leadership role creates challenges, but also positions girls as the key to their and their families’ successful future.
GirlForward empowers refugee girls ages 12-21 through programs that target five key challenges faced by refugee girls: poverty, language barrier, social isolation, limited/interrupted education, and the need for positive role models.
Camp GirlForward is a unique and innovative program providing summer education and enrichment to adolescent refugee girls in and entering grades 9-12. The program consists of an academic, social justice-based curriculum as well as accompanying enrichment activities and field trips designed to increase confidence among participants. Camp GirlForward’s academic curriculum is designed to fill gaps caused by interrupted education, preparing the girls to succeed in high school and pursue higher education.
GirlForward reported the largest and most diverse class yet for the summer 2014 Camp GirlForward program. Initial evaluation results indicated a 5% increase in literacy and a 60% increase in self-confidence among participants. Additionally, at the beginning of Camp only 39% of participants were matched in the Mentorship Program. This number is now over 65% post-Camp.
As a program specifically designed to increase access to education for girls, Camp GirlForward is a program well-aligned with the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation’s mission and we are proud to support such important work.