Educating girls in iSTEAM. Impact Entrepreneur: Rethabile Sonibare
Molo Mhlaba is a network of iSTEAM (Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) schools, each educating girls from pre-primary to primary school. The yearly intake will be of 60 girls per year in each institute, starting from 2018, ultimately reaching 420 students per campus. The network will launch schools across South Africa in the near future.
These schools will offer girls from underserved communities access to low-fee, independent private schools, which will provide them with a high quality education that is experiential, project-based and aiming at equipping children for jobs and economies of the future. Through a pan-African perspective, we will nurture the next generation of leaders on the continent to solve africa's complex problems through african solutions.
The network will create a generation of african graduates who are strong, independent, educated, and engaged citizens who will go on to be influential leaders in their future. While the key focus is creating a safe schooling environment for girls, the schools will also create job opportunities, uplifting local women from poverty, and boosting women in the township economy.
WHY GIRLS SCHOOLS?
Young girls growing-up in under-served communities in South Africa experience incredible challenges. They find themselves at great risk of physical and sexual violence, bullying, teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, and gang culture at school. They constitute the majority of the 50% drop-out rate amongst students between Grade 6 and 9. For the girls that do stay in school, they continue to be barred from learning because they do not feel safe.
Many of them are further discouraged from pursuing a career in iSTEAM because of gender norms, which significantly restrict the roles girls and women are expected to play in their family and society, but also because of lack of role models that could help them envision and understand how to pursue such a career.
The Molo Mhlaba Schools have a radically different vision for what these girls' expectations in life should be. We strongly believe there is no reason these girls shouldn't be inspired to dream about a career in a iSTEAM field, and that they have a right to be given a safe, enjoyable and supportive environment in which to work hard towards achieving their goals. The school program will also include advice on sexual reproductive health education, human rights, gender issues, and career guidance.
Learn more on their website here>