Bridgend Soroptimists have supported girls’ education in Cape Verde for a number of years. The project was originally started by Jill Delgado, a member of SI Cardiff whose husband was a Cape Verdian, and SI Cardiff ran the project. The governance of the project has recently changed – Jill remains fully involved and committed and it has now become the Soroptimist Members’ Education Trust. All trustees are Soroptimists and a deed of variation has been signed on 15th March 2017 to formalise the changes.
The Cape Verde project is financially sound and continues to effectively support the education of bright young girls to complete their education and enable them to go on and get higher education. Joyce Chatterton, a member of SI Bridgend, is one of the trustees and an avid supporter of the project.
It was a great pleasure to welcome Enid Childs and Joan Payne, from SI Glamorgan Gwent Marshes, to a Club meeting to update us on the project. Enid and Joan visited Cape Verde in December 2014 and were able to illustrate their update with slides of the island, as well as pictures of the girls, the school and the environment. This certainly helped to bring things to life and to realise the need that this project fulfills.
Cape Verde is a country comprising 10 main islands, off the cost if west Africa. It is a developing country which is making great strides towards self-improvement. Its links with Cardiff date back to the coal trade and there is still an active Cape Verdian community in Cardiff.
Education is free only in primary school, so many able children cannot enter secondary school or have to leave early as theri parents are unable to meet the costs for them to stay on. This project enables girls to enter or remain in secondary school (subject to passing their exams and the local education rules) until completing year 12. Without this support, these girls would probably undertake menial jobs below their educational potential. The girls supported through this project are carefully selected and must be motivated, keen and willing to work hard in school.
The project started in 1996. 20 girls have completed the project and most are now employed in professions or are in further education. Two are teaching, one is a psychologist, two are working int eh tourist industry, one is an accountant and several are office administrators.
There are currently 16 girls in the project. Our own girl, Flavia, continues to be supported by Bridgend Soroptimists and is making good progress in school. Several of Bridgend members also independently support girls through this project as well.