On Wednesday, April 3, four Georgetown students marched the historical walk of the 1965 Civil Rights movement between Selma and Montgomery to raise awareness for She Leads Burkina (SLB) Campaign. SLB is a crowdfunding campaign that aims to empower female students of Martin Luther King School in Burkina Faso by building a dorm on its campus.
Jean-Daniel Glausser, a high school teacher of Chief Director of SLB Sacha Millet (COL ‘15), created the MLK school in 2010 after visiting Burkina Faso in 2008. “His school is very peculiar, meaning that he has an ambition to create a new generation,” Millet said. “He’s not trying to educate most people, but trying to fundamentally change kids.”
The school is officially called Lycée MLK in homage to Martin Luther King Jr., who led the march from Selma to Montgomery to promote equality and empowerment through education. “[The campaign] wants to continue [MLK’s] mission by empowering individuals in underprivileged conditions,” SLB member Sofia Galatas (COL ‘15) said.
According to Millet, the MLK school has very high level of academics, equipment, and buildings out of the 54 schools in the Central Plateau region in Africa. The co-ed school educates and houses approximately 130 students exclusively in sixth grade. One third of the student population come from the highest social class from the capital who pay the whole tuition, another third come from the middle class who pay half the tuition, and the last third of the kids who come from the poorest regions who are sponsored from various donors. The school is open to all faiths, but Director of MLK School Jean-Daniel Glauser acquired his inspiration for the school from Protestant values.
“The campaign’s goal is to raise awareness around our campaign and mark the symbolic link that exists between the values of Martin Luther King and that of the school we are supporting that has taken the name of the pastor,” said Millet.
SLB officially launched on March 1 and has approximately raised $27,000 after the amount raised during the Selma-Montgomery march in Easter Break.
“Ideally, the school needs $100,000 by May to completely build the girl’s dorm, but any amount that we get will be directly used by the school in one way or another to better integrate girls.” said Galatas (COL ‘15).
“I have a couple friends at the World Bank, which has programs called Gender Equality and Development and Education,” Millet said. “We’re hoping that one of these programs will be interested in our campaign. We sent our applications and we’re now waiting for their answers.”
SLB will be releasing a video of the walk next week. According to a member of SLB Paul Gioia (COL ‘15), the members plan to continue their campaign by running from the Georgetown Waterfront to the Washington memorial next Sunday on April 12, for which a Venezuelan donor agreed to sponsor $2 for each completed kilometer. SLB also has a special marketing campaign and charity drink at Uncommon Grounds. SLB is currently organizing a speaker event in the third week of April regarding education and female empowerment in West Africa in collaboration with the African Studies Department to present the campaign to the wider Georgetown community.
“In the US we take for granted that both males and females have the same access to opportunities regardless of gender, at least in terms of education,” said Galatas. “However, this is not the rule in the rest of the world. The Georgetown community, as a privileged one, can help create awareness about this issue and have a direct impact in another community.”