Beauty brand Avon is teaming up with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai's nonprofit organization to ensure Brazil’s most vulnerable girls have access to education.
The Malala Fund announced on Thursday that the Avon Foundation for Women is investing $100,000 in its efforts to increase the number of black and Indigenous girls that complete secondary school in Brazil. Currently, 1.5 million girls are denied an education in Brazil because of racism, exploitation, and poverty, according to the Malala Fund. Indigenous and Afro-Brazillian girls are disproportionately marginalized in the country, and long treks to school, low-quality education, and poor roads often prevent them from learning.
Brazil is Avon’s largest market and the company’s contribution is part of its stand4her campaign, a global initiative to improve the lives of women worldwide.
“Like Avon, Malala Fund aims to break down the barriers keeping girls from achieving their full potential,” Patricia Eisner, Malala Fund’s chief development officer, said in a press release.
The donation will support work under the Malala Fund’s Gulmaki Network, an initiative to assist local educators and activists who work in countries where girls face the greatest barriers to education. In Brazil, Gulmaki Network focuses on educating teachers on gender discrimination, ensuring that schools reach the most marginalized girls, and training young women to stand up for their rights.
Indigenous people have faced violence and racism in Brazil for centuries. Starting in the mid-1800s, exploitation of natural resources and governmental colonization has forced them from their lands. While Indigenous people in Brazil make up .5% of the country’s population, they are 30% of its illiterate population.
The Malala Fund is equipping educators to deal with the various challenges their students face. Four children are sexually abused or exploited every hour in Brazil, and to address this reality, The Gulmaki Network is training teachers on gender equality and reporting gender-based violence. A history of sexual abuse increases the risks of unplanned pregnancy, dropping out of school, and experiencing emotional and mental health problems.
Avon’s donation will also help the Malala Fund continue training youth advocates and conducting research to figure out the economic impact on the country when girls drop out of school.
“We’re so proud to be working with Malala Fund,” said Amy Greene, chair of the Avon Foundation. “It’s an incredible organization, and Malala is an inspiration around the world in championing opportunity for women and girls.”