In 2005, AGE Africa’s Founder Xanthe Scharff traveled to Malawi as a graduate student intern attached to CARE. While working in Malawi, Xanthe wrote an article for The Christian Science Monitor about a local woman and her daughter (“What it’s like to live on $1 a day”,July 2005). The family could not send their daughter to school because they could not afford the $156 annual secondary school tuition or the required uniforms, books, and supplies.
Readers of the article were so moved by the story that they sent donations to support the young woman’s education. The first AGE Africa scholarship fund was enough to support all six of the village girls who had qualified for secondary school. These first six young women pursued their education despite tremendous pressure to leave school and get married.
Since 2005, AGE Africa has worked in a variety of school environments providing scholarships to girls in need. Over the last twelve years we have learned that scholarships alone are not enough to ensure that our scholars finish school. We now support girls at 24 partner schools with a combination of scholarships, life skills education, leadership training and career guidance. What began as a vision for the futures of six young women from a single village has grown into a vision for girls nationwide.