What can we do to help?
Of all the questions from our audience about NPR’s #15Girls series, that was the most common.
It’s a simple question. “I wish I had an easy answer,” says Rebecca Hersher, who reported on girls trying to get straight A’s in Afghanistan.
Consider the situation of Fatmeh, the Syrian refugee girl in Lebanon who is picking potatoes instead of going to school.
Lauren Fisher from World Vision, an organization that runs programs for Syrian refugees, offers two realities: If Fatmeh is pulled out of work to go to school, who will help provide income for her family? And at 15, she’s too old for Lebanese public school — what is her alternative?
“We wish difficult situations like [hers] could be solved simply by writing a check, but it’s sadly not that easy,” says Fisher. “In many cases, the wrong thing could do more harm than good.”
NPR does not endorse specific charities, but our correspondents did identify a number of charities that address the issues faced by the girls in our series.
We’re providing links, but we can’t tell you how to channel your good intentions. You need to check out the organizations and decide for yourself.
Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of nonprofit organizations in 75 countries that work to end child marriage. Its website has a map listing the activities of each group by country.
International Center for Research on Women does extensive research in both India, and internationally, on child marriage and other problems affecting women such as domestic violence. So they may be a useful resource for audience members seeking additional information.
WaterAid works to bring clean water, improved sanitation and education on hygiene to poor communities. The group uses local partners to also provide education on menstrual hygiene, menstrual supplies and “girl-friendly” toilets in local schools.
FAWEZA (Forum for African Women Educationalists of Zambia), a Zambian NGO, delivers Harvard’s negotiation curriculum to students throughout Zambia and also helps cover school fees of Zambian girls through scholarships.
Medicines Sans Frontieres Afghanistan delivers emergency aid to those affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare.
International Rescue Committee Afghanistan, a global disaster response group, focuses on education and development in Afghanistan.
World Vision has assisted more than 2 million Syrian refugees with education, clean water and hygiene, child protection and health in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries where Syrian refugees are displaced.