Biruh Tesfa is a United Nations Foundation funded project that provides girls with informal education and training for two hours a day.
Nejat is a 14-year-old girl with physical disabilities that affect her back and leg. Both her parents are blind and they survive by begging. They live in a slum in a very crowded hall, provided by the kebele, which is the Amharic word for neighborhood. Nejat is very vulnerable to different forms of abuse.
She joined Biruh Tesfa, a program that Girl Up supports, in 2010 after she was recruited by mentors who were going house-to-house.
Nejat was given a wheelchair and started attending mentorship sessions. She also received medical services and basic health information, including physiotherapy treatment from BlackLion Hospital, the largest hospital in Addis Ababa.
She soon started second grade and performed well, ranking sixth out of 56 students. She says that her life has changed because of the program.
"Before I came to the program I was alone at home, no one to teach me and care for me. I had no means to leave my house. But in the Center I became friends with the other girls and my mentors," Nejat said.
The Hewitt Girl Up Club, headed by Teen Advisor Sophia Stafford, will be dedicating an entire week to celebrating International Day of the Girl at their school.
The events kick off with a pep rally where students will travel to the countries of Guatemala, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, and the United States to learn about the challenges girls face in each country and how students can make a difference.
The activities continue with a lunch celebration where students will be able to write letters to girls in developing countries and a performance by Project Girl Performance Collective.
Join the growing movement for girls around the world. What will you do to make a difference?