Positive change is like a papaya. It starts with a seed and when planted, it grows, flourishes and takes shape. When the fruit is ingested, it benefits the whole body and mind with it’s nutritious qualities. Positive change is happening here at the Gashora Academy like a landscape full of papaya trees springing up into the sky. The sisterhood I see here is an unquestioned source of strength and unity that lingers palpably about the classrooms and dorms. This is a place where empowering women is the absolute norm; it is so a part of the daily life that I forget about it sometimes. So I often step back and think “wow, that student’s perspective on contraception is revolutionary” or “wow, that t-shirt says ‘End hunger, empower women farmers” “How cool is it that we show films like Half the Sky and Girl Rising?”
All of these simple aspects add up to a school where girls learn to appreciate their full value. They learn to become well-rounded women seeking their own individual careers and identities through paths like politics, engineering and physics. And on the side, the school instills an understanding of women’s human rights issues that we face around the world and offers solutions on a day-to-day basis of how to end such problems. How great is that? News articles will be posted on the walls about current issues. For example, an article was taped up on the wall outside about obstetric fistulas. Obstetric fistulas are a devastatingly common health problem women face in giving childbirth, mainly in developing nations. Beneath the article a teacher had written “Want to be a doctor and eliminate this problem?” This school is where positive change is happening. Education really is the key. It is like planting papaya seeds and watching the trees sprout and flourish.