My name is Lauretta.
I'm 12 years old. My job is to look after my younger brothers, collect firewood and fetch water. Some girls my age are already married.
I just want to go to school.
If you're a girl in many parts of the world, the odds are stacked against you.
If you're a girl...
What are the chances you'll study past elementary school?
What are the chances your first sexual encounter will be forced?
What are you most at risk of dying from?
‘Why girls? They're the key to lasting change in the places we work.’
One 12-year-old girl may be easy to overlook. But girls like Lauretta can change their own lives — and more.
Girls are the secret weapon in the war on poverty. But only if they're protected and educated.
When we invest in a girl through education, when we help her avoid child marriage and teen pregnancy, we give her a chance to succeed. We unlock her economic potential. And we set in motion a change that lasts for generations.
The Ripple Effect
When she stays in school, a girl can...
Every year of schooling increases a girl's future income by 10 to 20 percent.
Girls in Afghanistan face some of the most severe repression anywhere in the world. They are denied education, the opportunity to support themselves, even the freedom to leave their homes. But now, in a dusty provincial capital that was once a Taliban stronghold, thousands are stepping outside to learn job skills for the first time at a vocational school run by Mercy Corps.
Girls who stay in school during adolescence marry later and are less likely to be subjected to forced sex.
Fighting in the Central African Republic has left many girls orphaned or separated from their parents. Left to fend for themselves, they are more likely to leave school and fall victim to sexual exploitation. Mercy Corps helps these girls heal from violence, stay in school and make choices that keep them safe.
A girl who can read teaches her mother to read, tells her brothers about women's rights, and makes school a priority for her own children.
Female high school graduates can be hard to find in rural Ethiopia. School costs are prohibitive for the poorest families, and women are more likely to be found at home, where their skills are prized and their virtue is protected. Mercy Corps scholarships help girls complete high school — and spread the power of their education through family, community and country.
Change Her World
You can unlock the hidden power of a teenage girl.
Your gift to Mercy Corps supports our mission to educate and empower girls to end poverty in places like Afghanistan, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic.
It starts with a girl.
It starts with you.
- $33 ›Enrolls a Haitian girl in Soccer for Life to learn about self-esteem and HIV prevention
- $45 ›Provides assistance to a survivor of gender-based violence in the Central African Republic
- $110 ›Sends a girl in Ethiopia to secondary school for one year
- $180 ›Provides vocational training to a girl in Afghanistan for three months
- $300 ›Provides play therapy material and equipment for 30 conflict-affected children in the Central African Republic
- $1000 ›Teaches 30 Haitian girls about self-esteem and HIV prevention using sports
- Other ›Any amount makes a difference for a girl in need
Tell the world what a girl can do.
Looking for more?
Visit us at mercycorps.org
Photo credits (from top to bottom):
CAR - Sean Sheridan for Mercy Corps; Niger - Cassandra Nelson/Mercy Corps; Thatcher Cook for Mercy Corps; Afghanistan - Toni Greaves for Mercy Corps; CAR - Sean Sheridan for Mercy Corps; Ethiopia - Joni Kabana for Mercy Corps.