The third annual ProGirls initiative to mentor schoolgirls kicked off in Cairo and Alexandria recently.
The project encourages female tenth graders to get to know STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and leadership management careers.
One hundred and ninety Egyptian pupils from 12 state and private schools in the governorates of Sohag, Damanhour, Alexandria and Cairo met for the first time with their 90 female mentors, internship and Girls’ Day supervisors from 45 Egyptian private sector companies.
Rania Ragab, a teacher at Al-Quds School Alexandria, states: “What motivates me as a teacher to participate in ProGirls, is the change that I find in the girls’ mentality and personality after the project. This is our third year to participate as a school and I can say that there is a 180-degree change for many girls concerning their career and study path.”
Between July and September, the girls will participate in two-week internships and in five mentoring sessions.
On 10 October, Girls’ Day, a vocational orientation day for female students, will take place, and in November, a closing event, featuring speed mentoring, will take place at the Bibliotheca Alexandria.
“When I was a young girl, I did not know that there are successful women in technology. I want the girls I am mentoring in ProGirls to understand that they have opportunities ahead of them in IT. What I like about ProGirls is that it targets 15 to 16-year-old girls; at that age they can still choose in school whether they go for liberal arts or science majors,” says Menna Ayad, consulting engineer at Cisco Cairo.
Jana Ali from Egyptian Language School in Cairo tells Ahram Online: “Once my teachers gave me information on ProGirls, I decided to join. I like most about it that we are given opportunities to start experiencing new fields of work, which prepares us for our professional future.”
“I participated in ProGirls last year and had a lot of fun. It really improved my career and my temperament, and that’s why I’m participating again this year. ProGirls gives me the courage to face life,” says Raneem Magdy from Zahran School in Alexandria.
ProGirls (Professional Orientation of Girls) is in its third year and is run by EconoWin/Economic Integration of Women in the MENA Region, a program by GIZ, the German international development agency, and PASCH Schools’ Partners for the Future initiative, run by the German foreign ministry.