Helping Women and Girls Learn

Young Southeast Asian leaders, such as Mara Duterte (left), are helping to improve the lives of girls in their countries. Duterte is a manager for Girls Got Game, a sports camp for girls who face tough economic conditions in the Philippines. The nonprofit organization is managed by former athletes who use basketball and soccer to build confidence in these girls, confidence that promises to help them reach success in school and adulthood. Camp leaders share their own athletic experiences to teach persistence and teamwork.

When she’s not helping girls become athletes, Duterte works for the government of the Philippines an electronics engineer. Duterte’s work reflects her love for her country and her fellow Filipinas. As a member of the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI), she hopes to make a difference in the entire region.

Young Southeast Asian leaders, such as Duth Kimsru (left), are helping to improve the lives of girls in their countries. In Cambodia, Kimsru is a manager at PEPY Empowering Youth, a nonprofit that helps at-risk teenagers, especially girls, to pursue higher education. PEPY’s work is concentrated in Siem Reap province, where a majority of people are rice farmers. Under pressure to help their families, students often drop out before secondary school and migrate to Thailand for seasonal work to earn extra income. Consequently, Cambodia’s enrollment rate drops 69 percent from primary to secondary school.

One way Kimsru and her peers at PEPY work to reverse the trend in Siem Reap is through a scholarship program that lowers family education costs. Recipients are supported with school fees, a bicycle, the use of a computer, a living allowance and access to health care. In return, students agree to start a service or development project in their communities. As a member of the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI), she hopes to make a difference in the entire region.

Young Southeast Asian leaders, such as Lusia Efriani (left), are helping to improve the lives of women in their countries. Through her project Batik Girl Roadshow, Efriani trains Indonesian women who are former prisoners to make and sell dolls as a source of income. Production and sale of the dolls, clothed in traditional Indonesian batik, provide women with job skills to help them readjust to life outside of prison.

Started in 2014, Batik Girl Roadshow has trained 70 women and produced more than 1,000 dolls. Given this success, Efriani is hoping to expand the project to other communities throughout Indonesia. And as a member of the Young Southeast Asian Leadership Initiative (YSEALI), she hopes to use her talents to make a difference in the entire region.