What is Girls Rise?

Girls Rise is an initiative to raise awareness about the needs of education for girls in rural Malawi. It has a branch in Malawi and in the United States. The Malawian branch focuses on programming that supports girls to stay in school and community advocacy to shift perspectives about girls’ education. The U.S. branch, which was founded by high school student, Mackenzie Duffy, focuses on raising awareness and funds to support leadership programming and educational scholarships for girls in rural Malawi.

During her sophomore year at Villa Maria Academy, Mackenzie Duffy founded the branch to further the education of teen girls in Malawi, peer to peer. Struck by the alarmingly high child marriage rates, disproportionate HIV/AIDS infection rates, and practically nonexistent female secondary school attendance rate, Mackenzie spent the majority of her sophomore year collaborating and brainstorming with members of the Pamoza team to initiate holistic change within Malawi for the young women.

The product was a 2-part plan: an annual leadership conference and a scholarship fund. The conference was carefully tailored to appeal to gifted, 7th grade students in Malawi so that they would be prepared to succeed in their 8th grade year, a critical time for high school selection. After an initial fundraising campaign, the first conference is set to take place this December!

The 2022-23 school year is being dedicated to establishing a scholarship fund to holistically address the needs of the young women in Malawi. This will be no easy task, but with the support of the greater Philadelphia community, this dream can become a reality.


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