Plan International USA has announced a $12 million bequest from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous in support of programs it hopes will transform the lives of ten million girls around the world.
The largest individual gift in the organization's eighty-year history will fund a series of programs centered around its new program model, GirlEngage, which places girls, their priorities, and their needs at the center of solutions to their most pressing issues. To that end, GirlEngage programs will challenge social and gender norms, send more girls to school, and work to keep them safe in their communities and from the perils of trafficking.
According to the organization, girls who are educated tend to be healthier, earn higher incomes, marry at a later age, and have fewer children. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), however, more than a hundred and thirty million girls around the world, ages 6-17, are not in school.
"Too often, being young and female means being marginalized, exploited, and excluded from opportunity," said Plan International president and CEO Tessie San Martin. "Our strategy to transform the lives of ten million girls is ambitious. However, our eight decades of experience in seventy countries arms us with the right tools to achieve this goal. Our supporters' trust and generosity give us even more leverage to tackle barriers and engage children and girls in shaping their future."