Early Education for Girls in Egypt Gives Fatma a Chance

Save the Children helps educate and empower girls in the middle east. 

Once sullen, Fatma now smiles and dreams of becoming a doctor one day.

Fatma, a bright-eyed seven-year-old girl, lives with her father, mother, two brothers and two sisters in a small home in a rural village in Egypt. Her father did not believe in girls’ education. Her mother never attended school. Her sister was uneducated and married at an early age.

Fatma had no hope that her life would be any different. Before joining Save the Children’s preschool, Fatma was sullen, her appearance unkempt. She was surrounded by negative attitudes about girls’ education and women’s potential.

Today, she believes in herself, and is excited about building her future.

The arrival of Save the Children’s early childhood care and development program in Fatma’s village marked an important turning point in her life. Despite her father’s resistance to sending his daughters to school, she was eventually allowed to attend.

Fatma quickly found her stride. Both Fatma’s mother and father were impressed by the positive changes in their daughter, and by her level of maturity and development in comparison to the rest of her brothers and sisters who had not attended preschool. As a result, Fatma won over her father and completed the program.

“My father changed his opinion when he saw the huge changes in all aspects of my personality,” said Fatma. “He promised to let me continue my studies, and wishes for me to become a doctor one day.”

The program promotes the social, physical, psychological and cognitive development of young children under the age of six with the aim of easing the transitions between critical stages in childhood development and increasing the proportion of children who enter and succeed in primary school education.

Research has proven that children who participate in early childhood development programs tend to be more successful in later schooling, are more competent socially and emotionally, and show higher verbal and intellectual development.

“Save the Children has changed my life and my destiny. I want to be a very famous doctor and to treat the children of the poor for free. I want to make my father’s dream come true,” said Fatma. “I wish all the children could join Save the Children’s preschool class so they can do well in school like me.”

For Fatma, and girls like her around the world, it takes so little to make such a big difference.

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