On Jan. 17, the Peace Corps Club at South Williamsport Area High School hosted Yassin Saar who spoke with a group of students about the school she started in The Gambia, West Africa, called Starfish International. The Peace Corps Club began years ago when students wanted to learn more about other countries. Over the years, they have corresponded with Peace Corps volunteers in Senegal, Mongolia, Burkina Faso and The Gambia, always finding ways to help the communities where their PCV's served. Through their PCV in The Gambia, the club members learned about Starfish International and had several fundraisers and collections, eventually helping them to have a clean-water well, a roof on their service building, cameras for their student photography business and more. The club members even had the opportunity to Skype with students from the school. Because of the Peace Corp Club's dedication to helping the school, Yassin came to speak while she was in the United States.
Yassin's goal in starting the school is to keep teen-age girls from being married off at a young age. In a country where the average wage is $1 a day, education costs $100 a year. When the decision as to which child to educate comes up, the boy always is chosen since he will remain with his birth family while the girls will marry and go to their husband's family. Starfish makes the education available at no cost to the girls but teaches them a trade that will make them able to pay for their education but also to be worthwhile to their families. She believes that with the size of the country, she can make a difference by educating 100 girls a year.
For more information, contact the club advisor Janet Hurwitz, at email@example.com.
Shown is Yassin Saar, left, with the South Williamsport Peace Corps Club.