According to various news media, social media and other sources, women in some parts of the world are denied basic rights. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017), there is an average difference of at least $170 between the pay of women and men of all races. These differences exist in most industries, including education.
Rectifying this global issue takes a huge amount of work. One Vancouver resident doing her part is Rosio Godomar.
Educate Girls Network
In 2013, Godomar started the organization Educate Girls Network (EGN).
The network helps educate young girls to become teachers. EGN does so by offering scholarships to underprivileged female students, who otherwise would not be able to financially support their university education. The organization’s goal is to help young girls gain better education, improve the conditions of individuals, their families, communities and nations, just as Godomar learned from years of working around the globe. “I realized the common need was for young women to receive an education. A girl with an education provides support to her whole family as well as her community,” says Godomar.
In 2017 UNESCO released statistics that show a gap of 19.3 per cent between the literacy rates in men and women aged 15-24 in Liberia. One of EGN’s goals is to improve these numbers. There may be fewer female students in the country, but there are even fewer women in the teaching industry. According to EGN, if women are not being educated as students, they cannot rise to become educators.
[“My hope is] that through Educate Girls Network we can bring awareness about places and people from one part of the world to another,” she says.
Helping young girls in Liberia
Godomar’s inspiration to create EGN came from her childhood in Ayacucho, Peru in the 1950s. Though she cherishes the memories of her childhood, growing up in a rural setting, the lack of a good education was always an issue. It was not until Godomar was eight that her family moved to the capital city of Lima, where her academic excellence was recognized. At the end of high school, Godomar was offered a scholarship to study at the Social Security School of Nutrition in Lima. First of her family to leave Peru, she went on to earn an M.Sc. in Human Nutrition from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. “I was inspired by life-changing educational opportunities and would like to do the same for Liberian girls,” says Godomar.
Godomar has worked with various programs of the UN since 1987. From 1991 to 1995, she contributed to community-based initiatives and humanitarian relief all over the globe, from Angola to Iraq to Pakistan. Her work targeted on improving the government’s capacity to implement nutrition and food security policies and programs, focusing on the welfare of children, pregnant women, female farmers, students, and people who have become refugees in their own countries. In the recent past, Godomar worked for Fraser Health Authority as a food service supervisor at Burnaby Hospital. One of her many other roles is that of treasurer of the United Nations Association of Canada, Vancouver branch. As treasurer, she works closely with co-presidents, ensuring the accuracy of financial reports and is responsible for responding to board and stakeholder financial queries.
Not only has one of Godomar’s organizations supported and offered scholarships to six Liberian girls in the last academic year alone, she is also involved in numerous philanthropic efforts in Vancouver and around the globe.
“[it is] a small network group but it has a big heart” says Godomar about EGN. She hopes that with the help of both social media and more traditional communication methods, the word on this initiative reaches more and more people.
Godomar currently lives in Vancouver working as a nutritionist, as well as running her non-profit and playing many important roles in society.
For more information about Rosio Godomar and the EGN, see www.educategirlsnetwork.org.