Change is the only constant. Globally, there is an evolving change paradigm regarding education availability for women and girls. We still however have very far to go. In Trinidad & Tobago we are very fortunate to enjoy education as a fundamental right for all. One of the biggest challenges however for many families is low income. This was further exacerbated due to Covid-19, many girls were forced to exit school at a very young age. There is the ever-present lack of basic supplies needed for a proper education.
While to many this is not a reality, many young girls today are unable to enjoy their right for a proper education due to lack of resources. Parents are unable to purchase schoolbooks and uniforms. Inherently, these girls leave school as young as thirteen and that cycle that society is trying to break of girls getting married as teenagers is unfortunately not broken.
I came from a low-income household, and I saw how challenging it was for my parents to fill our booklists. My July /August vacation family outing was usually the day my dad went to the bank to take that annual loan for purchasing books and school supplies. It was my father’s mission; he believed that the best asset that he could have given me was an education. I wish this for each and every girl. Fortunately, having a permanent job, even though it was low income, enabled my dad to secure loans for school supplies. Many households nowadays do not have fixed sources of income.
I am a member Soroptimist International Anaparima (SI Anaparima), and it is part of our mission to help create avenues to ensure every girl has the required resources to have a proper education. We are aware that many families must make the choice of purchasing basic food items or school supplies. Moreover, we know that education is imperative and empowers women and girls to not only support themselves but also aids in eradicating violence against women. Many of our projects are centered around education and empowering young women and girls.
To support all our projects SI Anaparima seeks sponsorship from local organizations as well as hosts fundraisers. One of the most recent was our SIAN In Wonderland Tea Party. I am so elated and happy to be a member of a club of women who gives selflessly in an effort to support women and girls in our communities. Not only do our club sisters work tirelessly but the families and friends of my club sisters aid to assist SI Anaparima in achieving our mission in making a difference in the lives of women and girls.
I implore each and every one let us be the change agents to enable every girl to enjoy their right for an education. As a nation, as a club, as an individual, we need to be vigilant we need to expand our reach … we can make this change … we can break the cycle … it is imperative that all girls and women are equipped with the tools and resources for a proper education.
Written by Anisa Roopchand-Joseph