Embrace Gender Equity
Embrace Equity and Imagine What’s Possible
Providing equitable access to education and opportunity is at the heart of buildOn’s work. By empowering women and girls in our U.S. and global programs through education and leadership opportunities, we believe our world will be better equipped to dismantle the issues affecting us all––from systemic racism to the poverty and education crises, and beyond.
Meet the Incredible Members of Our Movement
In U.S. cities and around the world, we’re building strong leaders of every gender and helping to open up opportunities for girls, women, and female-identifying people of all ages.
Help Build Equity for Girls and Women
Reflections from the buildOn Community
“The day we received these projects is unforgettable because we have spent seven years learning in an unconducive environment. We jealously care for them because we nearly completed primary school without sitting in a proper classroom.”
“I firmly believe that our purpose for being here is to serve, to assist one another, to act in the larger interest. That is the aspect of serving my neighborhood… that I love the most. I love that I feel like I’m living out my mission in life, making a difference in people’s lives, and for once not just taking care of myself.”
“When I told my mom about buildOn, she was really excited and really happy that I chose that route––to give back to the community––because that’s the same thing she did back home… her and my dad created a foundation where they send back food, clothes, school supplies to the Congo.”
“Education is very important because I am the one who helps my parents and sibling when they have messages or want to make a phone call. If they were literate they could do these simple tasks by themselves.”
“I see myself as leader… I’m working to become the president of buildOn at my school”
Elizabeth’s biggest dream is that her son continues his studies and is successful in his career. “He likes civil engineering. They tell us it’s expensive, but my dream is to see him achieve it,” she says. “If that means me wearing a single pair of shoes, or never buying a new dress, I will fight to see him get ahead and succeed. Education is the best inheritance a parent can give their children– that and that they become good people.”
“The women who inspires me to do better is my mom, really inspires me to be a better person”
“I found out that here in the U.S. women get paid less, which I was not satisfied knowing. If a woman does more work than the men, but gets paid less… it didn’t fit right with me the inequality.”
“Being buildOn Burkina Faso’s first female Construction Manager is a great responsibility and gives me pride because I managed to assert my rights and prove my skills… My biggest dream is to have peace in Burkina Faso to allow us, through buildOn, to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and despair through education.”
“I learned that female empowerment is so vital, and it is especially important to uplift females everywhere, even when it’s accustomed not to.”
“I am making sure that my grandchildren are attending school by providing basic needs for their education. I am using the proceeds from my fritters business to buy learning materials and school uniforms for them. I also grow soya beans and ground nuts (peanuts) which I sell to earn a living and support these grandchildren with their education.”
“Being of service to my community is something that makes me feel very proud because I enjoy helping others… I’ve always dreamed of helping people and fighting injustice.”
“Working with buildOn and constantly meeting new people––it is something that can be scary to me––but I feel like as I did more events I started to get more comfortable with it. There’s also a part of me that’s like, ‘Who cares?!’ I’m doing this to literally help other people. If you’re judging me for that, you’re crazy.”
“From this construction project, we learned how great we can be when we join forces together. From now on we will continue to support each other.”
“My mom inspires me a lot. Being able to learn about her experience as a refugee from Vietnam and how she came to the United States inspired me to work hard in school. When she grew up, she didn’t have opportunities to pursue her career interests, and there were less opportunities to pursue higher education compared to here. Being a first generation student now, it inspires me to work hard in school because I’ve seen how far she’s come.”
Uplifting Girls Globally Through Education
buildOn partners with communities across eight countries––Burkina Faso, Guatemala, Haiti, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Senegal––to build schools and provide access to a quality education. Working in countries where women and girls have often been denied an education for generations, buildOn always requires that girls and boys are enrolled in equal numbers, ensuring equal access to opportunity for students like Ndiaya.
Having lost her mother during her birth, Ndiaya understands how important it is for women to receive quality maternal and prenatal health care. Now that buildOn has partnered with her community and built a brand new school, her dream of becoming a doctor when she grows up is more within her reach than ever before.Help Girls Like Ndiaya
Empowering Girls in the U.S. Through Service
buildOn currently engages nearly 4,000 students in our U.S. Service Learning Programs, a majority of whom are persons of color with more than half identifying as female. By addressing their communities’ greatest concerns––including homelessness, food insecurity, and more––buildOn students learn to lead by first learning how to serve.
As Oakland High School’s buildOn Co-President, Everlynn is passionate about serving her neighbors and advocating for gender equity. The daughter of a refugee from Vietnam, Everylynn is proud of how far her mom has come despite her lack of opportunity growing up, and is inspired to work hard in school and pursue her dream of becoming a physician. When women are represented in professional leadership roles, Everlynn believes even more young girls will feel empowered to step up and lead.Engage Students Like Everlynn
Supporting Women Globally Through Literacy and Opportunity
buildOn’s Adult Literacy Program helps participants learn to read, write, and do basic math, and supports them as they begin income-generating initiatives to help them gain financial independence and security. More than 27,000 adults have participated in these programs, and because women have disproportionately been denied an education in the communities we serve, more than 83 percent of the participants identify as female.
A recent Adult Literacy Program graduate, Joyce is grateful that she can now support herself and help her grandchildren attend school thanks to her small business that was further developed through the program. She now understands whether she’s making a profit or loss, she’s learned more efficient and cost-effective farming techniques, and has improved her family’s nutrition using organically grown crops.Empower Women Like Joyce
Championing Women in Non-Traditional Roles
Imagine what the world would be like if women were always given equal access to education and professional opportunities. When buildOn partners with global communities to build schools, we require that women serve on the Project Leadership Committees and work side-by-side with men on the construction sites. We also empower women in professional leadership roles throughout the organization.
When Rolande first joined buildOn as a Field Coordinator, she says it wasn’t easy being the only woman. But after a year and a half, her supervisor recognized her hard work and promoted her to Construction Manager. “It is a great responsibility and sense of pride because I managed to assert my rights and prove my skills,” says Rolande.