The Orphaned Daughters of Nurses in Sub-Saharan Africa

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The Orphaned Daughters of Nurses in Sub-Saharan Africa

Education costs just $200 year

By Working Nurse
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While nursing organizations are usually focused on professional concerns, some also do important charitable work. Since 2005, the Florence Nightingale International Foundation, the charitable arm of the International Council of Nurses, has been working in developing countries to help the orphaned daughters of deceased nurses complete their education.

The Girl Child Education Fund

The charitable initiative, which is called the Girl Child Education Fund (GCEF), is intended to help address a significant problem: In developing nations, the loss of a parent frequently results in daughters dropping out of school, either to help care for other family members or because the family (or foster family) can’t afford to pay for the children’s education. (Sons are usually much less likely to leave school.)

Nurse-Mentors and More

The GCEF supports girls whose deceased parents were nurses, providing a nurse-mentor and funds to cover school fees, uniforms, shoes and books through both primary and secondary school.

Since its inception in 2005, the initiative has helped about 350 girls in nations of Sub-Saharan Africa.

By U.S. standards, the costs are modest. About $200 a year will cover primary school expenses for one girl while about $600 a year will cover secondary schooling. A complete primary and secondary school education costs around $5,000 per girl.

Teaching Self-Sufficiency

The GCEF is presently supporting 103 girls in Kenya, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia. The monetary support can make the difference between adult self-sufficiency and a lifetime of grinding poverty.

“This program is my mother and my father,” says one girl. “It means everything to me.”

Last year, the Florence Nightingale International Foundation launched a campaign to establish a $10 million endowment fund, which the organization hopes will allow a fivefold expansion of the GCEF. For more information, see  

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