The mission of Lasallian Women of Hope (LWH) is to ensure girls and women enjoy full access to Lasallian education.
LWH began as a small project providing grassroots female empowerment while developing sustainable solutions to mitigate obstacles impeding educational access. Through its grants, LWH delivers creative, effective, and durable solutions to educational inequities for girls and women.
LWH started in 2016 with the Pad Project at Mwagnaza College in Nakuru, Kenya. It resulted from the discovery that young women would engage in “situational prostitution” to purchase personal hygiene products needed to attend classes during their menstrual periods.
“Period poverty” is one of many gender-specific obstacles girls and young women confront in accessing quality Lasallian education. In developing countries, 48% of girls miss up to five days of school per month when they menstruate. This “period poverty” is due to a lack of access to menstrual products, hygiene facilities, adequate sanitation, and water.
The LWH Pad Project focuses on supporting locally-based Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) educational plans, which provide women’s health instruction and personal hygiene items. This project not only promotes regular attendance and better grades but also fosters an increased sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Girls who stay in school are more likely to avoid pregnancies and be more vital social contributors as adults.
Last year, LWH provided small grants which expanded the Pad Project to other Lasallian ministries throughout the Institute. New and creative programs that address
access to early childhood education and food security are additionally under consideration for the next funding cycle.
During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) highlights LWH as part of a worldwide effort to provide inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all. The campaign, “Education: Let’s Build Our Future Together,” was developed by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools’ Solidarity and Development Secretariat network. The campaign encourages Lasallian schools to host classes, financially support and energetically promote the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) to “ensure universal access to inclusive and equitable quality education.”
COVID-19 has significantly impacted Lasallian educational ministries worldwide. The needs of girls and young women are greater due to the unique situations that the pandemic has imposed upon them. LWH plans to continue to fund current projects and to expand to provide funding for the following proposed LWH projects:
- Haiti: Education and food insecurity
- Kenya: Pad Project in additional Lasallian ministries
- South Africa: Preschool education for girls