Students at Portsmouth High School celebrated International Day of the Girl with an assembly given by a High School alumna, Georgina-Kate Adams.
Georgina-Kate left the school in 2003 and embarked on a trip to Swaziland before completing a fashion degree. In Swaziland she met Lelo, a shy 8 year old girl.
‘We will all have been asked the question “what do you want to be when you are grown up?”’ said Georgina-Kate to the girls. But what about the question “what problems do you see in the world that you would like to solve?” This is a little more difficult to answer.
‘When I arrived in Swaziland and met Lelo, I realised that when you educate one girl a ripple effect takes place. One thing’s for sure: by keeping her in a safe, educational space for as long as possible, we are protecting her from marrying young, facing childbirth before her body is ready, contracting HIV, rearing more children than she can afford to feed and continuing the cycle of poverty in her community.
‘Currently, there are 130 million girls out of school worldwide, so to educate one of them is amazingly powerful. In 2012, I launched The Seed Africa, a crowdfunding project and now a registered charity. My hope was that, with a small investment from many people, we would be able to send a girl in Southern Africa to boarding school.
‘That scholarship had the potential to alter the course of that girl’s life, by giving her the kind of five star education that will allow her to go on to university. ‘Now, 20 years old and about to graduate from school, Lelo sees her future dedicating herself to ensuring that every girl gets an education. Her dream is to become the first person in her family to go to university and she wants to use her “blessings of having an education” to help others to have the same and ensure girls to grow up in a safe environment.
‘You are all so lucky to be receiving an education,’ Georgina-Kate said to the girls. ‘You have two powerful weapons to take with you as you move on in your lives; wisdom and choice. Believe in yourselves and follow your hearts. Go into the world with your eyes wide open and remember, we all have a responsibility to leave the world in a better place than when we found it. You are the leaders of tomorrow; the future belongs to you and you can change the world.’
Georgina-Kate left Portsmouth High School 14 years ago; ‘It has been amazing coming back to school and to see how much it has moved forward,’ she said. ‘It has a very exciting energy in the air and a feeling of community, purpose and creativity.’
She is currently studying for an MA in Education, Gender & International Development at UCL (Institute of Education).