Voice Your Verse ‘n’ Open Your Purse!

By Janette Santos, Editorial Intern

Are you a poet? Well you’re in luck because April is National Poetry Month! To coincide with this annual celebration of the written art form, She’s the First launched their “Voice Your Verse” campaign. She’s the First is a nonprofit focused on getting American girls involved in raising funds to sponsor the education of girls in developing countries. The campaign aims to raise $10,000 by publishing an anthology of poetry called If the World Were my Classroom.  She’s the First promises that “100% of proceeds from the anthology, published during National Poetry Month in April, will sponsor girls’ education in Kenya, Tanzania, India, and Nepal.”

In March of 2011, She’s the First founder/president Tammy Tibbetts and Hannah Brencher, creator of MoreLoveLetters.com, decided to combine their love of poetry and social media with their passion for girls’ education. Now in its second year, this year’s campaign began in February and will last 90 days, over the course of which She’s the First invites students to host their own She’s the First Open Mic Night to raise more money, and awareness for the project. The campaign will culminate in a spoken-word event in NYC on April 17.

Besides helping to sponsor girls’ education, She’s the First provides several other great reasons to participate and contribute to the Voice Your Verse campaign—the education of girls has greater implications beyond gender equality. Research consistently shows that educating girls and encouraging them to work outside the home raises the economic output and stability of a country.  In terms of the economy, maternal education is linked to lowered maternal mortality rates as well as improved hygiene standards; thus, promoting the education of girls can incite widespread effects. Did you know that approximately 1 in 7 girls are wed before the age of 15 in developing countries, and they often suffer complications or death from pregnancy? In fact, pregnancy is the leading cause of death for young girls between the ages of 15 and 19, and it has been shown that girls who stay in school longer have fewer children and marry later.

To find out more information about the campaign, and contribute to the cause, you can visit http://www.shesthefirst.org/poetry/ or http://www.shesthefirst.org/2012/04/poetryanthologygirlsponsorships/.

Photos courtesy of She’s the First.

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