Who We Teach
The doors to the Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology (GGAST) opened in January of 2011 as a pioneering, socio-economically diverse upper-secondary STEM focused boarding school designed to provide 270 of the most promising young women in the country of Rwanda with exemplary college prep education.
Gashora students graduate as inspired young leaders, filled with confidence, a love of learning and sense of economic empowerment to strengthen their communities and foster Rwanda's growth. Our proven model of education equips Gashora girls with:
- inquiry based, hands-on learning
- academic excellence and intellectual courage
- service learning and social engagement
- leadership opportunities in school and beyond
GGAST has enrolled girls from 29 of Rwanda’s 30 Districts and has included students from Burundi and Somaliland, creating the most socio-economically diverse school in Rwanda and perhaps all of East Africa. Our students are accepted based on academic potential and not financial capacity. 100% of our students receive financial aid on a sliding scale depending on their families needs. Most girls pay less than what they would pay if they attended a government school.
Rwanda Girls Initiative built the Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology, an upper-secondary boarding school, in order to increase educational opportunities for girls in Rwanda. In Rwanda, 97% of girls go to primary school, but less than 34% attend upper secondary school, and only 8% graduate. Secondary school capacity is very limited, allowing only the girls with the highest test scores to attend. Even for a bright girl who is qualified to attend, she may face obstacles to success and graduation – including household responsibilities, family support and/or safety concerns.
“When we go outside of school (GGAST), things really change. When I go home, I am expected to do things my five brothers do not have to do like house chores. I face the same challenges as other girls in Rwanda, but other girls do not even question them. For Gashora Girls, we know what the obstacles are and we discuss them and find solutions to empower us through Girl Up workshops and events.”
-Belise Bwiza, GGAST Class of 2015, Smith College Class of 2020
The societal effects of girls receiving educational opportunities are widespread: increased educational opportunities positively affect the economic earnings and productivity of the girl as she reaches adulthood, increases the health of both herself and her children, and is a key component to ending the cycle of poverty.
- The return on investment for girls’ education is, on average, higher than for boys. One extra year of secondary school boosts a girl’s future wages by 12-25%. (World Bank, 2014)
- In Africa, children of mothers who receive five years of primary education are 40 per cent more likely to live beyond age five.
- The HIV infection rate in many developing countries is growing fastest among teenage and young adult females. Education for girls may be critical to breaking that pattern, by increasing their understanding of risks, and their capacity to avoid them.
- When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
- When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
Read More About Girls Education
- Fast Tracking Girls Education
- The Girl Effect
- United Nations Girls' Education Initiative
- The Adolescent Girls Initiative Rwanda
- More Information about The Adolescent Girls Initiative
- "Education. It's Not Just About the Boys. Get Girls into School" by Jonathan Alter
- "What Works in Girls' Education"by Barbara Herz and Gene
"At every drop of my sweat, you grew stronger and stronger,
Giving me wings to fly to this place of unique beauty in diversity.
A place where I found the true peace in my soul,
A place where I found the dignity and value that I have never had,
A place where I found new lives into mine.
A place where my smile came, from hopes of the future.
I have found my voice and know who I am.
I am Gashora."
-Eunice, Class of 2018