Tigist is one of 200 girls who joined a girls’ club in the Villages of Shoa this year. At her new school, she is the chair of the new club that is changing social norms by encouraging girls to talk about menstruation, early marriage and the importance of education. Tigist is part of a community of girls, teachers and parents breaking new ground for a country where girls have few opportunities to change their futures. 

“We learned how to keep ourselves clean and that menstruation is common and natural. Girls should not be worried. I teach my friends this.”

- Tigist, Girls’ Club Chair


The Hardships of Rural Life

Girls in rural Ethiopia face many hardships. The burden of collecting water for their families falls on their shoulders, limiting time for school and homework. The struggle to manage menstruation at school can make it difficult to continue an education past puberty. Sanitary pads are hard to find and most schools lack a private, safe space for girls. Families may pressure their daughters into an early marriage, cutting their education short. To overcome these challenges, Ethiopian girls need a strong support group of peers, and adults who can advocate for their education.


Glimmer Girls' Clubs

Girls’ clubs empower teenage girls when they’re at risk of dropping out of school. At club meetings, girls share their goals and struggles, learn about their bodies and, most importantly, receive the resources they need to stay in school. This year, 1,800 reusable menstrual pads were distributed to girls along with hands-on training. The ability to manage their periods has given these girls ownership of their lives and opportunities.


Glimmer empowers teachers to support their students. Ms. Shibire, a volunteer girls’ club leader, was trained in health and education advocacy. She leads a weekly meeting for 80 girls. For some of her students, Ms. Shibire is the only adult they can ask about menstruation. She assures them that they are not alone.


“I can see there is a change. Girls are not afraid of coming to us.”

- Ms. Shibire, Girls’ Club Leader

Girls that have a supportive peer group and adult mentors are more likely to stay in school past puberty and complete their secondary education. Supplied with the tools they need to succeed, these girls are empowered to break the cycle of poverty and change their lives.

An Empowered Community

Our greatest opportunity to create deep change in Ethiopia starts with women and girls. Through Glimmer’s integrated projects, we delay marriage for girls, support women’s health, create income opportunities and improve the village economy.