Every year in the spring, the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation awards at least $100,000 in grants to organizations working worldwide to remove barriers to education. Most of these awards grant recipients $10,000.
The North Carolina State University Panhellenic community, through their Circle of Sisterhood group, raises $10,000 every year to fund one of these grants. Once all applications have been vetted and the winners have been selected, the NCSU CofS group gets to choose which grant they want their dollars raised to go to. This year, they chose Nurturing Minds.
“There were multiple reasons why Nurturing Minds stood out to CofS at NCSU. Before the decision was made, our selection committee chose two goals for our grant; the first was we could directly see how we were helping the charity and to pick something that Panhellenic women could try to relate to.” according to Sidney Goetz, Panhellenic Vice President of Philanthropy and President of the Circle of Sisterhood group on campus.
Nurturing Minds is an organization in Tanzania, Africa which helps girls receive secondary education that they would not otherwise receive. Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world with only 30% of girls attending secondary school. Most Tanzanian girls are forced to drop out of school due to expenses and the expectation to get married and start a family before they are 18.
In 2007, Nurturing Minds founded the Secondary Education for Girls Advancement (SEGA) school. The SEGA school focuses on more than just academics. They also teach about women’s rights, healthcare, entrepreneurship, and leadership as well as community outreach.
Sidney also shared that “These are all valuable topics for the SEGA school girls and Panhellenic women to learn to broaden their education. The SEGA school girls take part in community outreach, much like the Panhellenic women of NCSU. This was an important factor in our decision as community outreach and volunteering open even more doors to education. The Panhellenic community of NCSU values more than just academics as there are many other ways to learn other than in the classroom.
Another aspect we liked about Nurturing Minds was that their website has resources to see how one can help. You can learn about the development of the school through the years, scholarships given, and hear from past alumni of SEGA. Having all these resources to show our Panhellenic community allowed for a more personal connection to the grant, leading to more involvement from our women.”
This grant will support 50 at-risk Tanzanian girls through the Modern Girl Community Outreach program. This program pays SEGA alums to teach life skills and women’s rights to women in the community outside of the SEGA school. Even if Tanzanian women cannot attend secondary school, this program provides them with the opportunity to build their capacity as women and learn about how early marriage may hinder their opportunities.
According to Sidney, “The opportunity to help 50 women showed the NCSU Panhellenic women how powerful we can be together as a community. After watching the video from Nurturing Minds website, we all agreed it was difficult to top the excitement and happiness we saw from these girls. How valuable their education was and seeing the other opportunities they got made us feel like this was a great opportunity. We are honored to work with the Circle of Sisterhood to support Nurturing Minds and eager to help make a difference in the lives of these women.”