She's the First *{Rutgers} raises funds for girls in impoverished nations


Changing the ground for education for even one girl means accomplishing so much more because, in turn, the girl's family, her village and future local generations will also prosper through her.

This is the goal of an organization called, "She’s the First."

Brenna Mazur, a Rutgers Business School first-year student, said She’s the First is an organization that provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries who will be the first in their families to graduate.

The organization focuses specifically on girls because past and present statistics continuously prove girls face greater discrimination when it comes to education as opposed to boys.

“By supporting these girls and providing them with an education, we are helping them to break the cycle of poverty, not just for themselves, but for future generations as well,” Mazur said. “Education goes far beyond the classroom.”

She’s the First makes a huge impact due to the organization's size, Mazur said. There are 177 chapters today that sponsor 568 scholars in 11 countries. The organization has a total student body reach of more than 1,300,000 and more than 35,000 followers on social media.

All together, She’s the First has provided 1,594 years of education so far, Mazur said.

As for campus chapters, Mazur said She’s the First has two major fundraisers each year.

Some of the fundraisers are “Bake a Change,” which has raised upwards $100,000 across the nation for the organization. “Sweat for STF," raises money through running races and fitness classes.

“As for myself, if I could help She’s the First *{Rutgers} fully sponsor a girl, I would feel as if I made a great impact. It takes $1,400 to become a 'Girl Champion' and provide schoolbooks, supplies, lunches, mentorship, tutoring, life skills, room and board and 24/7 care for a scholar,” she said.

For individual campus chapters, She’s the First aims to increase awareness and raise money to sponsor girls.

For example, She’s the First *{Rutgers} first sponsored Florence from Tanzania in Fall 2014. Then they sponsored Soffie from the Gambia in Spring 2015, said Kristen Huang, president of She’s the First *{Rutgers}.

The campus organization fashioned different fundraisers during the school year to raise money, Mazur said. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the girls.

Huang, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the first time she heard the name, "She's the First,” she thought it sounded unique and decided to attend a meeting in her high school.

“I knew what I wanted, coming to Rutgers, so since I have these resources, and am so passionate about education, I decided that I want others to feel this passion for themselves, and She's the First has provided that outlet for me. Education is such a privilege for me, so I want to pass it on,” Huang said.

She's the First helps other girls get their education so they can achieve what they are passionate about, she said.

First and foremost, Huang said She’s the First *{Rutgers} directly helps girls across the world have the opportunity to be global leaders right where they are, and indirectly help themselves and the Rutgers community realize the gravity of supporting girls education.

“I hope to team up with other organizations around Rutgers and in the New Brunswick community to bring larger events to Rutgers,” she said. “We can’t succeed as a chapter unless we have the support of people who love education and believe that educating girls can bring positive change, so widespread awareness of the benefits of educating girls is key.”

Part of this is reaching the men at Rutgers, she said.

“Girls education doesn’t just benefit the girls that She’s the First works with,” she said. “But (it) cycles back to the whole entire community."

There are many ways in which to make a positive impact through the passion and capabilities built within She's the First, Mazur said.

"Educated girls raise a nation’s GDP, lower the maternal mortality rate, and improve hygiene to slow the spread of disease. Educated girls become educated women, who educate their children," Huang said.


Natasha Tripathi

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