She’s the First, an award-winning non-profit organization, offers opportunities to children to help further fight gender inequality through education via scholarships, summits, and fellowships and can help further develop a team of advocates.
Junior Shaily Acharya, the founding President of the STF chapter here, was selected to be one of seven members of the inaugural class of fellows as part of fellowship program called She’s the First Community Impact Fellowship.
Acharya applied for this competitive fellowship program with a project about refugee life, an issue that is personal to her. “The main purpose of the application was to describe the project that you would be completing under this fellowship. In the application you had to outline a project that you would complete as a fellow that captures the spirit of STF. “My project revolves around empowering the young girls of the refugee community in the DMV and giving them the information and tools to navigate the higher education system of the US. I was inspired to make my project about refugees due to the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Nepalese from Bhutan a couple of years ago. I saw how these refugees were welcomed into the US, but the youth were often left with little support to guide them through the school system in a completely foreign country to them. Since my family is Nepali, discussion around the Bhutanese refugee has been a pretty important part of my life. After doing some more research, I learned about the other refugee communities here, such as the Somali and Sudanese,” Acharya said.
Acharya is excited about the fellowship program and its impact. “Basically the purpose of this fellowship is to bring the essence of what STF stands for, accessible education and girls’ empowerment, into communities all over the US and the world. This is a good thing for Wootton too. I will need a lot of help from the community in order to make my project a success. I would love to get as many people involved as possible. I think that this fellowship can really create an impact in the DC area due to the high number of refugees that live here. But more importantly, I think the opportunity to participate in this project is very important for the Wootton community in that it teaches people about local refugee communities and it allows us to directly use our privilege to make a positive impact in the lives of these refugee children,” Acharya said.
Separate from the fellowship, the STF chapter at this school plans to promote social awareness, take political action and run fundraisers. “We have branched out to focus more on raising awareness for women’s issues in our club meetings as well as in our community. For example, we called or wrote our local representatives to express our concerns over certain political issues. We also had a poster campaign in school following the theme of the #metoo movement. In the spring semester, we are planning to continue with these awareness activities as well as fundraise for our scholars,” Acharya said.