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Published on Jul 10, 2013
Ellie is a educated woman, a social justice teacher, a coach of girls gymnastics and softball and a writer. She writes for Lutheran Social Services of New York. She lives in Harlem with her spouse and enjoys studying education, theology, global citizenship and power dynamics. She has lived and worked previously in St. Paul, Denver and Uruguay.
Every child deserves access to education and educating girls can lift entire communities out of poverty. Really leaving no child behind is wonderful in theory while extremely complicated, time-consuming and expensive in practice. Many countries like Kenya do not offer free secondary education, leaving many poor children behind. Supporting governments to offer free public education is vital. We also need to support local leaders who are successfully catering to the unique educational needs of the poorest of the poor. Kibera Girls Soccer Academy, founded by Abdul Kassim, is working because there are no fees, lunch is free, they are given sanitary pads. Instead of hiring educated teachers from Nairobi, they are sending their untrained Kiberan teachers to college. Clubs and sports support the classroom work. Although the goal is to keep every girl safe and healthy for four years, KGSA is starting to send graduates to college. Abdul is not a trained educator, but knows that the girls need more than a school, they need a family. KGSA is providing that. I believe in girls and love to see what they can do when given access to school, skills and sports. It is an honor now to share their story—not in hopes not that KGSA will be replicated around the world, but that we will support local leaders like Abdul and small schools like KGSA that are truly leaving no child behind.
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