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Dr. Viola Vaughn to appear at F. M. Kirby Center

Published April 08. 2010 05:00PM

Dr. Viola Vaughn is the founder and Executive Director of the Women's Health Education and Prevention Strategies Alliance (WHEPSA) and 10,000 Girls in Kaolack, Senegal, West Africa will be speaking at the F.M. Kirby Center on April 28 at 7:30 p.m., free and open to the public.

She founded WHEPSA in 2001 to develop new strategies for offering health and educational services to girls in rural Senegal.

Vaughn is an American with an Ed.D. from Columbia University who received the CNN "Hero" award in 2008. She is a social entrepreneur who has built 10,000 Girls from an idea to a vibrant program currently serving 2,567 girls in 10 towns and villages in rural Senegal. She periodically tours the U.S., speaking and participating in conferences to raise awareness of her organization's success in helping West African girls succeed as students and entrepreneurs.

10,000 Girls has two primary programs: after-school education and skill-building. The educational component provides tutoring and resources to help girls succeed in school. The entrepreneurial program provides skills such as sewing, baking and creating products such as dolls and table linens which they sell locally and online. The girls in the entrepreneurial program have decided to donate nearly 50% of their earnings to the program, making 10,000 Girls entirely self-sustainable.

Their newest project is known as The Kedougou Initiative and will include environmentally sustainable agriculture education programs, entrepreneurial education programs and academic programs, all with a "green" focus.

The dynamic Viola Vaughn, a long-time resident of Senegal, dramatically describes the challenges and joys of running 10,000 Girls and speaks with passion about her organization's mission. She can relay fascinating stories, including how she convinced banks to open accounts for young girls, a first in Senegal; why the girls choose to bake and sell cookies to raise money; and the poignant questions girls pose at summer Democracy Camps in Senegal.

Viola hopes to connect with individuals and organizations interested in the education of girls, as well as with businesses that might want to sell 10,000 Girls' products. She will encourage individuals to get involved, volunteer and give back.

Viola will visit the Wyoming Valley April 27 and 28. She will speak on April 27 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Dallas. On Wednesday, April 28, she will speak to the students at Wyoming Seminary Upper School. She will speak at the F.M. Kirby Center on April 28 at 7:30 pm. The lectures at St. Paul's and the Kirby Center are free and open to the public.

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