We are a non-profit organization working to empower Ethiopian girls and young women through the sport of running!
Help the Yaya Girls Program provide new scholarships for the October 2013 - February 2014 Trimester!
Who we are:
We are a non-profit organization working to empower Ethiopian girls and young women through the sport of running! Our ultimate goal is to help adolescent girls facing serious life challenges to become financially independent, empowered leaders who will promote gender equality throughout Ethiopia and bring positive changes to both themselves and communities across the country.
We envision a class of awesome, inspired, financially independent and strong female role models to graduate from the Yaya Girls Program and bring positive changes to both themselves and communities across the country. A new generation of young Yaya leaders, enabled and encouraged to fight gender equality will help redefined the deep-seated societal norms that unfairly burden girls and women throughout Ethiopia.
How we’re doing it:
The Yaya Girls Program utilizes a holistic, five pillar approach that addresses many of the root causes, which trap Ethiopian girls and young women in a long-standing, inter-generational cycle of poverty. Through unique scholarship opportunities, the Yaya Girls’ Program hosts an average of four to eight young women a trimester, providing them with Olympic caliber athletic training, individualized job training coupled with a three-month placement initiative, English language tutoring, an interactive health and nutrition education, and a comprehensive leadership and women’s empowerment curriculum with a strong focus on community outreach. The girls live on the grounds of the Yaya Village Hotel and are provided room and board by the Program. We work hard to ensure that the campus provides safe spaces for the young women to ask questions, often considered taboo in their society, and to grow as adults.
This trimester we are also launching two all-girl pilot running clubs that will provide the Yaya Girls an opportunity to showcase their leadership skills in their own communities, sharing what they’ve learned with other at-risk girls, facing similar life challenges.
Why we are Passionate about our Work:
So many girls in Ethiopia have turned to running to escape poverty after being pushed out or denied access to the education system because of their sex. While many are talented athletes, the likelihood of these girls sustaining themselves in the future through running is slim and more difficult because they have been forced to sacrifice nearly every other opportunity to pursue a running career. Many of the Yaya Girls, for example, are illiterate, unsupported by their families, and have few viable options to turn to if they do not make it as elite runners. Our program is working to create new opportunities for these young runners who are dedicated and hard working but have been denied access to key resources throughout their lives and desperately need help.
What we love about this program is that it gives new opportunities to a marginalized group of women who have worked hard for so long, while also creating an amazing and positive sense of female community in rural areas that otherwise have little support for girls. Time and time again, studies have shown that investing in adolescent girls is one of the best ways to develop communities and we could not agree more!
Understanding The Five Pillars:
It is our hope that together these five pillars will help to build the foundation that is key to strong women, strong individuals, strong communities, and a stronger Ethiopia.
Athletics: Lead by Coach Melaku, Ethiopia’s former Olympic marathon coach, athletics form the cornerstone of the Yaya Girls Running Program. Through this elite training opportunity, the girls learn the value of discipline, structure, teamwork, and the ways in which one can overcome barriers with grace and confidence. The athletic component of the program also allows the girls to become leaders in athletic communities outside the Yaya Girls Program and opens the door for those exceptionally talented athletes to pursue a career in sport.
Empowerment and Life-Building Skills: Using a curriculum crafted specially for the Ethiopian context, the Yaya Girls Running Program creates a safe space in which the girls can find female community and support as well as develop a stronger sense of confidence, self-love, and agency over the circumstances that govern their lives. The girls are encouraged and given the opportunity to actively participate in the launch of adolescent girls running clubs at nearby churches, schools, mosques, community centers and towns to share what they’ve learned from the Program.
English Training: English language learning is critical in that it increases the girls’ chances of gainful employment after graduation from the Yaya Girls Running Program as well as provides them with a formal place in which to study and learn, an opportunity that was denied to most of the girls at a very early age.
Vocational Skill Training: Formal apprenticeships, training opportunities, and seminars run by local role models provide the girls with invaluable professional exposure that expands their current expectations of what they can achieve and prepares them to be desirable employees as they enter the workforce.
Health and Nutrition Education: Practical lessons in women’s health and nutrition helps the girls to make knowledgeable and safe decisions regarding their bodies and minds as well as gives them the language and tools to share new knowledge with their families and communities.
Hitting the $3,500 USD tipping point will help the Yaya Girls be funded through the end of the 2013 year. By hitting the tipping point, the Yaya Girls will be in a position to finish this years work and jumpstart additional fundraisers to help the Program procure funds for the following calendar year!
Raising $8,000 USD will fully fund the Yaya Girls through the close of the October-February trimester. The additional funds, past the tipping point, will help the Yaya Girls launch a minimum of three girls running clubs in communities across Ethiopia and be funded through the close of the October-February trimester!
The Yaya Girls’ Program hosts an average of four to eight young women a trimester, providing them with unique scholarships that include:Olympic caliber athletic training, individualized job training coupled with a three-month placement initiative, English language tutoring, aninteractive health and nutrition education, and a comprehensive leadership and women’s empowerment curriculum with a strong focus on community outreach. During the trimester, the girls live on the grounds of the Yaya Village Hotel and are provided room and board by the Program. All the girls expenses during the four-month trimester are covered by donations.