Girls Education

Promoting education for girls in third world countries.

Abstract:  The “Rain Song School” promotes education for girls in 3rd world countries, where it is often unavailable or actually denied to girls.  The writer points out the large hidden costs to a community or country for not educating its girls and enumerates the specific benefits the community gains when it educates its girls.  By many criteria, educating girls gives more “bang for the buck” than educating boys.  A sample plan for how “Grandmother” para teachers could be paid a small stipend is given along with a way to get the school lessons in basic academics free from the internet.  Ways of distributing the learning materials, even to remote villages, are discussed.   The writer aims to set forth the rudimentary aspects of a practical plan so others can see it is possible and adapt it as needed and then actually start a school for girls in their community.


Rain Song School is the idea of FREE education for ALL girls


Many children go uneducated each year in the developing world.  Huge amounts of mind power and creativity are lost to the individual and to the society.  This happens to girls more than to boys.  The negative consequences are greater for girls than for boys. Uneducated girls are more likely to be forced into labor or sexual servitude, or both, and remain there for many years.  Uneducated girls:

marry sooner,
give birth sooner,
are more likely to die during childbirth,
tend to stay uneducated,
are less likely to educate their children, and
fail to develop their creative talents.  

In short: uneducated girls perpetuate poverty.  The financial loss is reflected in the smaller than possible GNP of the country.  Education for all girls in the developing world is a goal that has practical outcomes for her, her family, community, country, and world—in other words, for everyone!  See the 2013 CNN documentary, “Girl Rising” for a factual and poignant acquaintance with these facts.

I support existing educational systems in developing countries.  When possible, a professional educational environment and building, staffed by professional educators, is good.  But a make-shift classroom with lay-teachers delivering instruction is light years ahead of no education at all!  Girls taught in make-shift schools will at least have access to the bare bones of basic academics, modern world living skills and social studies.

For the developing countries where they practice, barefoot doctors with only 12 to 18 months of intense training is a much better solution than having no doctors at all!  In the same vein, remote villages in the developing world where Grandmothers were given 6 months of intense training in installation and maintenance of village solar electric systems are much better off than are villages left in the dark because no professional engineers were available.

Para teachers, who have completed an intense 1 – 2 month “how to teach” training program distributed free on the world wide web, offering a bare bones no frills K through 8 curriculum, in make-shift classrooms, teaching girls who can’t afford school uniforms and textbooks is far better than the alternative—no education for these girls at all!   The value of such a program is determined not by the credentials of the teachers or adequacy of the facilities, but by the practical results demonstrated in the lives of the girls educated. Grandmother’s desire to teach, not her credentials, is what will get the job done.  Here are some questions with which to assess value.  

Did fewer die in early childbirth?
Were fewer married as child brides?  
Did fewer contract HIV-AIDS?
Do they insist their own children be educated?  
Do they learn and pass on better hygiene practices, sanitation and community health measures?  
Are they more likely to get advanced training?
Are those with advanced training more likely to return to their local community to serve?
Are they more inclined to start and run a profitable business?  
Are they more likely than men to spend moneys earned for the benefit of their families and not
on gambling and alcohol?  

Research shows a resounding “YES” to all these evaluative questions!

It really is quite simple.  Here are the sequential pieces of the puzzle:

[1] If we can train lay-teachers, perhaps mostly grandmothers, for free on the internet
[2] if we can, when required, give them a very modest stipend - say about 50% of the local rate for common labor for a full day. (The stipend offsets loss of time from other productive tasks. Each hour is precious in a subsistence economy and there is no time to “waste” on frivolities like educating girls, unless of course, such activity becomes a source of income!)
[3] and the lay-teacher instructs 12 or more students for 2 hours a day for five days a week;

[4] and if the school is free to the girls who attend the 2 hour a day school,(Longer school hours mean longer times “wasted” at being away from helping with the chores upon which the family depends for it’s survival.)
[5] we will have educated girls and subsequently, a better world!

This puzzle can be put together!  Numbers 1 through 5 above are realistic.  There is no reason we cannot be educating most every girl in the developing world.  Of course there are more details to work out, questions to be answered, but you get the idea.  Thanks to the internet we can reach the world, and we have the capability to print information and distribute it widely to districts and villages without computers.  Lay-teachers can be trained and a bare bones curriculum made available at no charge.   Curriculum could be in the following areas:   a) basic academics, b) modern world living skills, c) Social studies.

Basic Academics is:

(1) Reading
(2) Writing
(3) Math  
(4) Science

Modern World Living Skills is:

(1) Learn English (the de-facto international language)
(2) Computer basics (often conceptual only since equipment may not be available)
(3) Political Awareness
(4) Personal finance and wealth building
(5) Homestead Operation: low-cost, efficiency and natural construction techniques
(6) Practical problem solving.

Social studies is:

(1) Local history,
(2) World history,
(3) World geography and
(4) Harmony theory (benefits for all of cooperation at all levels).

Questions to be answered:

How much to pay the lay-teachers?  
How to get money to them?  Perhaps have them send in witnessed request along with simple “field documentation” such as cell phone photos of them in the process of teaching.  Of course someone could “cheat” and only pretend to be teaching a group of girls  while having their picture taken.  But many would not cheat because the world over most parents want a better life for their children, girls included, and would encourage education.  Business and social organizations within region or country wide reach could be enrolled to receive and dispense funds to the lay-teachers.  Other ideas for how to organize this will emerge.  Crowd funding in a natural for this project.   Cell phones are everywhere and a way could be devised to use them in making the payments.

Use textbooks, don’t use textbooks?
Translations, like Google translations, can be had a no cost.  But machine translations are not totally accurate—especially when it comes to conveying the meaning of pronouns and direct and indirect objects and modifiers.  One idea is to use a combination of stick figure drawings along with VERY short sentences.  The sentences would consist of only verbs and nouns.  For example:  “do work”, “eat food” “save money”, “build shelters”, “read books”, “count money” and so on.  Stick figures shown representing the action accompanied with the translatable phrases are a possibility.  Sentences of only one noun and one verb usually translate accurately in most languages using the free machine translations.  

Teach the Teachers.
Another approach is to prepare brief and concise lessons in all K through 8 grade levels in each of the 12 or so subjects and get native speakers representing the 50 +/- most common languages to donate their translation services for their language.  These lessons, free, can be placed on the internet for anyone to download and take to even the most remote villages.  Perhaps only the teacher will have the printed page, or, in some cases, copy machines may be available to make copies for the girls.  In either case, girls will be learning!

Sample Salary Figures:
$2.25 USD per day, is 45 % of $5, the day labor rate in Haiti.  This is for grandma who has taken the “how to teach” course.  It is extra income for her family, equivalent to having a day laborer give half his salary to the family.  Twenty (20) days a month = $45 USD, so for a 10 month school year that lay-teacher costs $450.  She can teach 2 different sessions a day—an additional 12 girls get taught, making 24 girls being taught for a year for a total teacher cost of $450.

Ten teachers would cost $4,500 and would teach 240 girls for a year.  One hundred teachers would cost $45,000 for the year and would teach 2,400 girls!!!  WHAT A BARGAIN !!!  That amount would not be difficult to raise by crowd funding.  The cause is so worthy and practical.

WhereTo Get the Course Material?
With only slight editing to update materials or to remove religious promotion, all the subjects K though 8 can be gotten free off the internet.   Copyright limitations have expired on a lot of the material.  Additionally, we have the home school movement to thank for much of this free sharing of valuable teaching material.  A few hours of research on the web by this writer turned up an abundance of free material in all subjects and for all grade levels.

Greg Mortenson on educating girls:
In his book, Three Cups of Tea…, Greg Mortenson said, “Educate a boy, and you educate an individual.  Educate a girl, and you educate a community.”   He is also widely credited as saying:  “Once you educate the boys, they tend to leave the villages and go search for work in the cities, but the girls stay home, become leaders in the community, and pass on what they’ve learned. If you really want to change a culture, to empower women, improve basic hygiene and health care, and fight high rates of infant mortality, the answer is to educate girls.”

About the Name:
I had been pondering the right name for the school for many days.  One night while still pondering I had a visitor.  Suddenly I looked up from my desk, there was a frog hanging, belly toward me, on my window! This is a very unusual thing—it happened one time a year or two ago and I have lived in the house for 19 years.  It thrilled me!  I went to look in the Native American totem book and found frog:  “Frog speaks of new life and harmony through its rain song.”  [p 190, beginning of last paragraph in the description] and “…Frog can sing the song that calls the rain to earth.”  [p 189, 3rd paragraph]   As I stood at the bookshelf (opposite side of room from window) the frog jumped from glass to side frame of the window.  This afforded me a “topside” shot with my cell phone camera—by gently opening the sliding patio glass door, upon which she had been, stepping scarcely through the door, and snapping her picture.   Some 20 to 25 minutes later she was still there.  Cleansing, healing and water attributes are brought by frog.  A school that brings healing and cleansing in the service of harmony for the human family might well earn the name, “Rain Song School.”  Of course, one or many different names may be chosen to best fit the needs of the community.

Frog on window

Overview prepared by Dr. Jerry Dean Epps (PH. D),  Marietta, Georgia 30062, USA.