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Girls Scholarship Program of Esicabazini


Welcome to Girl!   Our Girls Scholarship Program (GSP) invests in:

• 15-20 girls yearly in the rural community of Esicabazini, KwaZulu Natal South Africa.

• Top achievers in grades 5-7 at eSibonsiweni Primary School
and grades 8-12 at nearby Dumangeze High School.

Meeting the material needs of girls attending school, including uniforms, shoes, backpacks, and hygiene supplies.

• Support for 12th grade scholars applying to and attending university, and for graduates pursuing internships

Opportunities for our scholars to connect with urban mentors and their American sponsor community.

With the help of the GSP, dozens of girls in the remote community of Esicabazini, in the northeastern corner of KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, are defying the odds stacked against them by poverty to excel and advance in school.  Supported by scholarships awarded for their academic performance, these exceptional young role models are blazing a trail at Esibonisweni Primary School and Dumangeze High School for younger girls to follow.  In the process, they are changing low expectations of girls' achievement due to cultural norms in a highly patriarchal region.  

Through the generous support of the Mark Day School (formerly Saint Mark's School) community in San Rafael, California, the GSP offers scholarships to girls beginning in 5th grade. This is a stage when family needs and pressures often end a girl's hope for education in a region where girls' domestic labor has traditionally been valued more highly than their schooling. The tragedy is that many girls leave school just when the long-term benefits of their education begin to accelerate with each year. Thus, late primary school is a critical intervention point, when incentives can tip families' calculations in favor of allowing girls to remain in school.

The prospect of continuing benefits helps keep both girls and their families interested and engaged as they approach and enter high school. In an area where girls drop out of school in increasing numbers with each passing year and very few graduate from high school, girls need all the support they can get to continue their education beyond primary school. Our program is designed with these realities in mind.

As our first scholars approached graduation, we expanded our support to assist 12th graders in applying for university admission and financial aid. For those admitted to and enrolled in university, we help cover the gap between financial aid and total expenses. For graduates unable to pursue university, we continue to pursue opportunities for other tertiary education as well as internships to gain job experience.

Now in our 10th year, we are thrilled to welcome 21 scholars - both new and returning -- into the 2017 program! Their GSP activities are led by teacher mentors Simangele Ntshangase and Pearl Mdluli, with help from Thulani Madondo and Nelisiwe Walaza from partner Kliptown Youth Program (KYP).


LATEST NEWS                                       See more on our NEWS page


GSP scholars and mentors with Mark Day School delegation members.


 In 2015, our hopes and dreams for our first two high school graduates came true! After years of hard work and meeting many challenges, our two 12th grade scholars passed their matriculation exams and were both admitted to the University of Johannesburg!
Thandiwe and Nokuthula -- congratulations on your amazing achievements!! We are so proud of you and wish you both much success as you continue to pursue your education!


Greetings from Nomusa and Thandiwe, our two GSP graduates now in their second and third years (respectively) at the University of Johannesburg! In addition of their studies, both volunteer on weekends at Kliptown Youth Program, a partner program that supports educational opportunity for 1st-12th grade students in this historically disadvantaged Soweto township.
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