The Numbers Don’t Add Up: 500 African School Girls, 400 Beds, 4 Toilets, 0 Showers. Since 2008, AG Hair’s Women Leading Change Foundation
(WLC) has been building schools for girls in Africa. 10 cents from every litre of product sold has been donated directly to the cause along with generous donations from our salon community. AG hair’s CEO and Co-Founder, and Founder of WLC, Lotte Davis shares her most recent experience in Ganze.
LOTTE DAVIS’ JOURNAL DIARY
The resiliency of African women never fails to amaze me. Twice a year I go to visit the girls and women affiliated with our schools and I think, over time, I’ll get tougher, I’ll cope better with the heat, the humidity, the limited selection of food, the harsh living conditions – and this in a hotel! Yet, each time I come away feeling pathetic. I watch 10 year olds hoist 20kg pails of water on to their heads and walk 5km home with it, while I struggle to gather the strength needed to help them lift the pails over their shoulders.
At Ganze Girls School, I’ve watched the enrollment soar from 150 in 2011 when we first started adding classrooms, science labs, a library and a kitchen, to 464 today, with 45 more waiting to join in January. These girls are sleeping in three overcrowded dormitories that were never completed. The windows and doors are hanging by their hinges, the roof leaks when the rains come and bunk beds for two are often occupied by four. But the worst part is, we have still not been able to build the washrooms. There are no sinks, no showers, no indoor taps and the only toilets are four old outhouses. How they survive and show up tidy, and ready to plunge into their studies every day completely eludes me.
We may not be capable of living in conditions like this, but I figure we do know how to fix it, and we will. Our One for One campaign launching in January is aimed to do just this. The budget for renovating the dormitories and building three washrooms with indoor toilets, showers and sinks was finalized and the contractor had been identified before I arrived in Kenya this month. It would cost $200,000.
But when I arrived on site and saw with my own eyes how the girls had been living and realized how congested the newly renovated dormitories would still be, I realized I had to build a fourth dormitory as well and provide beds so that all 500 girls would have a place of their own to sleep.
The goal is now $250,000, and I’m determined to raise this. I know it will take a lot less effort than walking 5km down a hot dusty African road with a jerry can of water on my head. Through our One for One
campaign, we’re making it easy. With every AG product you buy, we’re asking you to consider contributing one dollar to help build these bathrooms and dormitories. And the more people we get involved, the faster we’ll get there.
Educated girls is the key to changing the enormous gender imbalance in Africa, and will promote economic stability, decrease poverty and end violence and injustice towards women.
100% of all donations will go directly to the school buildings, all administration and marketing costs are absorbed by AG Hair. Learn more about how AG gives back through Every Bottle Counts.