Sunday, March 8, 2015 marked International Women's Day.  

ASYV is working hard to bridge the gender gap through education and female empowerment. Meet Ornella, Jeannette, and Ernestine – role models in the Village fighting for women’s rights. 

Mama Ernestine joined the Agahozo-Shalom family in 2011 and is the loving guardian for sixteen Enrichment Year (first year) girls. Starting her career as a primary school teacher, Mama Ernestine has always been passionate about education and child development. “I am happy to celebrate International Women’s Day. Women are now able to increase their capacity of knowledge, of being a leader. After the genocide there were many women left without their husbands. Because of women’s empowerment they feel confident making decisions for their family and know they can do the same work as a man.”.

Ornella is a student at Agahozo-Shalom and a member of GirlUp, an organization at ASYV that brings girls together to share their ideas, increase confidence and public speaking abilities, and learn business management to become self reliant. “We decided to create GirlUp because we thought if girls join forces and unite, we can make something wonderful.

Jeannette is a S5 student (3rd year, 11th Grade) and a representative in the Female Solidarity Club at ASYV. Female Solidarity was created in 2010 and they participate in educational skits and facilitate discussions and debates on women’s rights issues. “Girls can do something, I really believe that. We are told that we are nothing, but that is not true. We have the power to make something better for our society and our world.”

Submitted by Shelby Sullivan, 2015 Village Fellow