Sacred Valley Project: An Inspiration for Girls Education
Posted: Oct 04 2016
Hey, SparkFire Girls!
It’s Crystal again, coming back from my last blog to share more about my heart for helping girls get the chance to stay in school to get an education. As I shared with you in the last blog, this is personal for me, based on my own experiences & opportunities.
Earlier this year, I went on a service trip to Peru with a small group from my school. One of the projects we worked on was at the Sacred Valley Project. Our goal for the visit was to work together to provide better living conditions for the Sacred Valley Scholars who attended the school before they returned from a brief school break.
The students at SVP, as Sacred Valley Project is known, are the first generation of girls in their family to receive an opportunity to get a secondary education. Most of them live in the mountains of Peru or in remote villages where they don’t have access to secondary schooling. Families may pay for a room in town for a son to continue his studies, but this is very uncommon for daughters. SVP is an amazing school program provides free boarding and supplementary education for young women who are from low-income families in an area in Peru called the Andes.
On the last day of our service, we met girls in SVP. We started by all introducing ourselves and they told us their stories. We learned first-hand that they all come from places of extreme poverty that lack resources for public education. They explained that after primary education, most girls will stay home to take care of housework and look after their younger siblings.
However, for this group of girls, poor living situations didn’t ever stop them from studying. When they received the opportunity to attend the Sacred Valley Project, they signed up for sacrifice, with some of them walking over 3-6 hours every day just to get to school. After they arrive at their dormitory, they take extra classes in the afternoon to catch up with students who go to school regularly. They also participate in other activities that are designed to give them skills to help break their current cycle of poverty they grew up in.
Their stories reminded me of myself when I was back in China. I remember the way our public schools were packed with over 80 students to one classroom. We all sat through the same classes every day from 7AM to 6PM. I remember seeing girls who had great grades, drop out of school because their parents wanted them to work earlier to support their brothers. I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to go to school and also even study abroad.
These experiences inspired me with the passion for doing even more for girl's education. I want to make a difference for girl’s everywhere by giving back and using my voice (like in my blogs), just like SparkFire Active. We can all Be the Spark with our small actions to create a mighty flame for change.
Be the Spark,