Evodia Anatory (left), who graduated from the Kupanda Project's all-girls boarding school, poses with Sue Bachar of the Denver-based Africa School Assistance Project.

Courtesy of Mary Beth Kirchner

Tanzanian girls face a long line of hurdles to graduate from high school. Sexual assault and teen pregnancy are pervasive, many are responsible for caring for younger siblings, and girls are often forced to stay at home for up to a week during their periods. There are also other barriers: a lack of clean water, little food and scant resources such as computers and books.

All in all, only four percent of girls in rural areas will graduate from high school.

That number astounded Sue Bachar, who is stepping down as the executive director of the Denver-based Africa School Assistance Project. The nonprofit builds schools in Tanzania. Bachar wanted to try something new to serve girls only. So she created a boarding school called the Kupanda Project.

Freelance journalist Mary Beth Kirchner went to Tanzania to volunteer for the organization and visited the school. Kirchner talked to Colorado Matters about the Kupanda Project's impact.