We Can Run is born from the idea that running is more than the physical notion of running; you can run a race, but you can also run a company, a store, a start-up, a team or simply go step-by-step to overcome obstacles to achieve a goal. Running as an idea covers the act of something that is in-the-moment, a constant becoming and something that only ceases to exist when one actively chooses so.
Running goes through both highs and lows and pursues the ability to build a solid foundation; one that is ultimately grounded in endurance and self-support, that is built on the pillars of resilience and perseverance. With this project, we want to help create a path for young women in Sierra Leone, so they have the chance for a better life.
Sierra Leone is consistently ranked amongst the poorest in the world. Placed 182 by the Human Development Index, it is a country where opportunities for a better life are hard to come by. Life expectancy is below 55 years and more than 57% of the country’s population live below the national poverty line. This is a country where surviving is not easy. One key factor to improve the situation is rooted in education. For Sierra Leonean women, however, this means battling systemic inequality. Roughly 15% of female students graduate from high school and only less than 1% are able to move on to higher education. Even if girls attend school, they often cannot afford to stay, leading to exceptionally high dropout-rates.
A Bachelor Degree followed by a Master Degree costs ~EUR 4.000; a price only few women can afford in a society with little options besides becoming pregnant, selling food or fabrics to earn money, all while taking care of family and household. The current situation in a country scarred by an enduring civil war, the Ebola pandemic of 2014/2015, and increasingly the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the expected long-term consequences of the Ukraine/Russia war, does not provide fertile grounds for change.
L’appel is an NGO founded by German medicine students and doctors during the last onset of the Ebola pandemic in 2015 and has since grown into a successful organization with several ongoing projects to improve education and medical care in Sierra Leone. As part of its organization, L’appel has joined forces with British NGO EducAid to launch a Women Empowerment Project, where young Sierra Leonean woman receive scholarships to pursue a higher education.
We Can Run has teamed up with L’appel to contribute to the higher education of female students in Sierra Leone. Building such a foundation is not just about enabling education with financial means, but also about understanding the drivers of pushing through adversity and fostering the resilience needed to create a more stable future from the ground up. We Can Run attempts to support the Women Empowerment Project in three ways:
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