Zubaida was 14 years old when her mother approached the principal of Prerna Girls’ School for a loan of Rs 10,000 for Zubaida’s marriage. By marrying off Zubaida to her cousin, the family would receive money in return, and their financial condition would improve. After realizing the family was in dire financial need, the school principal found jobs for Zubaida and her mother so they could support their family and avoid child marriage. After completing a Bachelor of Art, Zubaida, now 22, works at Digital Study Hall where she manages Mona Foundation scholarships for girls from destitute families in remote areas of Uttar Pradesh. As a result of the scholarships, 400 girls are continuing their education past 8th grade, the last grade offered at free, government-run girls’ schools. With Mona support, Prerna Girls’ School gave Zubaida an opportunity that transformed her life. Her education led to fulfilling work assisting girls like her who would otherwise not be as lucky.
Monica Espinosa and Madelaine Rodríguezes are indigenous Panamanians who would have probably been lost to poverty if the Badi School had not provided them access to education and empowered and enabled them to, together, achieve the highest scholastic honors to-date. Specifically, Monica’s family are indigenous Panamanians who left their tribal land, where subsistence farming was the only way to survive, to the outskirts of Panama City in search of a better life for their children. They did not have the opportunity to go to school but were determined that their five daughters receive the best education possible. Her father held two jobs and worked every day of the week for several years, as did her mother. They did all they could including knocking on the doors of many schools to seek scholarships in support of the education of their daughters. Now after many years, three daughters have graduated from college, a fourth is getting a medical degree, and Monica is in her second year at Technological University of Panama studying electronics and telecommunications engineering. Monica’s education was supported by Badi School scholarships provided by Mona Foundation. In 2016 Monica, in collaboration with Madeline, won three national and international science awards for their patented discovery: a refrigerant that does not pollute the environment. Monica also received one of the highest entrance examination scores ever recorded in the history of the Technological University of Panama, and was awarded a full 4-year college scholarship!
Founded in 1999, Mona Foundation supports grassroots initiatives around the world such as Prerna Girls’ School and Badi School that educate all children, empower women and girls, and enable them to transform their own communities. Mona works with these local organizations who know best how to meet the needs of their communities to provide access to education by building classrooms or providing scholarships to thousands of students. Since it’s inception, Mona has supported the the education and empowerment of more than 429,000 students annually in 20 countries. Effectively it has changed the lives of over a million people providing them with opportunities and freedom which is the right of every individual. When people are able to get quality education they can break from the cycle of poverty. Education therefore helps to reduce inequalities and to reach gender equality.
The Global NGO Executive Committee (GNEC) was founded in 1962 to promote a closer working relationship between the United Nations and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with it. GNEC acts as a liaison between the NGO community and the UN's Department of Global Communications (DGC). GNEC provides strategic guidance to help NGOs become more effective partners of the UN.
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