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Education Matters – Does Everyone Get Equal Access to It?

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Story of newHorizons

The majority of us believe that education is a way leading to a better future; however, have you ever thought about this question “Can everyone receive enough education to have the chance of having a brighter future?”

In fact, the answer is no; for some countries, especially, girls living in rural areas, they have limited resources and heavy cultural burdens which force them to leave education after 8th or 9th grade and then either staying home or entering early marriages. For those girls, the future is a fixed pattern to follow- early marriage, doing chores, raising kids, and staying at home for the rest of life. They do not know the future is full of possibilities.

This is why newHorizons is here, the founder, Nargiz, who was born and raised in rural Azerbaijan saw the challenges of those girls in rural areas and she wants to provide supports and give them chances to dream about their future.

What does newHorizons do?

newHorizons is an adolescent girl empowerment programme and the targeted group is girls living in rural Azerbaijan aged between 12 to 16 years old. The programme aims at creating the awareness that education can bring positive changes to the future for both the girls and their families.

There are three steps in the process. First, Inspiration stage, in order to build up the growth mindset and gain self-esteem, the girls will explore a variety of topics; for example, SMART goals, Mindset, Leadership and Dream Map. The topics can be varied as long as they are beneficial to the girls. In order to craft the curriculum best suit for the girls, Nargiz started online workshops in May 2020 and June 2020 in total of 6 workshops were delivered. She makes sure to reach to the targeted group and get their feedback to find the best topics and methods.

The second stage is called Education; the girls on this stage will have their goals ready and move on to learn specific skills, such as entrepreneurship, digital marketing, coding, etc. Those skills are the tool to help them achieve their dreams.

The final stage is Empowerment, with the mindset and skills in hand, they will be able to use them to gain real experience, either doing their own project or doing the internship. They will have the opportunity to extend their network outside their communities and even start to get a paid job. The door of a brighter future will be opened for them.

How did the idea of newHorizons form?

Nothing comes in handy; despite the fact that Nargiz is eager to provide a solution, she still needs a tool to form the programme. She chose Design Thinking, which is a process to solve people’s problems in a creative way. There is a well-known five- phrase model from Hassi-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, empathise your uses, define users’ needs and problems and your insight, ideate for innovative solutions, prototype solutions and test.

In the case of newHorizons, Nargiz saw the struggle of girls living in rural Azerbaijan and she would like to do something for them. She knew the key problem of those girls is lack of resources and they have the need to access more information that is why she believes education is the best way to change their lives. She then came out with the three-stage programme starting from shaping the mindset, developing skills to applying in real life. Now, she is on the stage of prototyping and testing the first-stage curriculum. She is a good example to show the girls that with the right mindset and knowledge, they can have the power to do anything!

This is a short story of newHorizons, we are still working on improving the whole programme and doing more things to raise awareness for the girls. If you are reading this post and have the same kind of vision to use education to change the future of girls. Please tell us what you think by leaving a comment below or using the contact form . We will be happy to hear from you and together to make the whole programme more successful.

You can also check us out on Instagram@newhorizons_aze

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