She’s the First Sponsors Girls Education to Break the Cycle of Poverty

She’s the First Sponsors Girls Education to Break the Cycle of Poverty

She’s the First Sponsors Girls Education to Break the Cycle of Poverty 1000 667 33Voices

Each time I hear an insight that deeply moves me I write it on a small piece of paper and tape it to my mirror. 

The latest is from Tammy Tibbetts, the Founder and President of She’s the First, when she said: “Your 29 year-old self is out there, and she’s doing amazing things.” 

Tammy’s insight is an exceptional representation of the opportunity She’s the First provides for young girls.

Founded in late 2009, She’s the First is a non-profit organization sponsoring girls in developing countries to be the first in their families to graduate from high school.

According to a recent post by Tammy, 63 million girls are currently out of school in developing countries. 

In only four years, She’s the First has sponsored 1,344 years of education for 500 girls in 10 countries. The team is working to meet a goal of 600 by the end of the year. 

She’s the First scholarships range from $360 to $1,600 with 100% of the proceeds covering the girls tuition, uniforms, and food. 

In addition to their time in school, scholarships enable young girls to emerge as leaders in their communities and break the cycle of poverty. Being a student delays marriage and childbirth for girls, decreases the likelihood of domestic violence, and helps them earn 18% higher wages, as an alternative to working in the fields. 

Take Mayra, for example, a She’s the First scholar in Guatemala who started a beading business to support her family. Today, she provides jobs for women in her village while  helping take care of her six siblings.

Tammy is equally proud of the leadership opportunities She’s the First provides for American students. 

There are currently 125 She’s the First campus chapters where middle, high school, and college students hold bake sales, documentary screenings, and panel discussions to raise scholarship money. Tammy expects the community to grow to at least 150 schools by the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester. 

As the first college graduate in her family, Tammy’s cognizant of the opportunities unlocked by getting an education. 

With that in mind, she’s committed to making universal secondary education a reality for young girls everywhere. 

Tammy’s relaxed confidence and the partnerships she’s secured with organizations like American Express, State Farm, and Google, make it difficult to believe she was voted ‘Most Shy’ in high school. 

After quietly navigating through her teen years, the nomination was a catalyst for Tammy to speak up and speak out. 

For me, it was the breakthrough of becoming the kind of leader I thought I could be if I simply raised my hand and used my voice – Used my words to amplify the voices of women who were committed to really important social justice causes.

While the opportunity to get an education is undoubtedly the most important part of She’s the First, encouraging young women to find and use their voices is Tammy’s North Star. 

“It’s such a shame to be the one who holds yourself back. Let go of those fears and do the thing that you want to do. 

Ask questions. Find a way. Don’t think that your voice doesn’t matter because it just takes one voice to get a lot of other people speaking up,” she shared. 

Whether it’s a high school student at St. John’s Preparatory School, a college leader at Emory or Mayra in Guatemala, She’s the First makes it clear to young women that they can and will be the next generation of global leaders. 

I think Deepa, a She’s the First scholar in Kopila Valley in Surkhet, Nepal puts it best when she says: 

I woke up and realized the world was behind me. Fighting for me. Cheering for me. Set up for me to thrive and succeed.

This is a place where I will leave my mark.

And when I’ve done everything I needed to do, they will say,

She was the first.

Tammy’s 33founders episode is one of the most touching I’ve had to date. I urge you to meet her, get exposed to She’s the First, and promise yourself that you’ll always share your opinions because your voice matters. 

Here’s a glimpse of what we discuss: 

  • The power of a She’s the First scholarship 
  • How the organization has evolved since 2009 
  • Tammy’s journey finding her voice and how you can find yours too 
  • Why “it’s easier to plan a legacy than a career”
  • Tammy’s dream cover story for She’s the First 

If you’d like to get involved with She’s the First learn more here, meet the scholars, and sign up for their monthly newsletter. 

Image credits to Kate Lord