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Running With A Purpose

8 years ago in Dijobouti, Dijobouti, John and Lorraine Nordmeyer were volunteering at local races at the track and noticed that quite a few girls were standing around the track. Some of the local Djiboutian coaches asked them if they would be willing to start a running club since both John and Lorraine were former competitive runners and still ran for fun.

“The fact is that no matter what country or culture it is important for all people to have opportunities for success and to be surrounded by people who will help them succeed,”
— Girls Run 2

Soon after, Girls Run 2 was founded. It started with 5K fun run that went through the center of the city. Rachel Jones, another runner, joined the effort to get the team started. As the team grew, it was realized that many of the girls had not been to school, then all seven girls were enrolled in Girls Run 2 jobs skills classes, since they were too old for school. A requirement of being on the Girls Run 2 team is to attend school or a job skills training course if they are past the school age. The organization helps cover the costs of school fees so that these girls can stay in school.

Dropping out of school at a young age is commonplace for girls in low income families in Djibouti. The average girl in Djibouti only attends school through fourth grade. Out of the girls that do attend school, many don’t have extracurriculars like sports, music and art. Girls Run 2 has been able to fill this gap with the running program consists of girls ages 8-17, giving them the opportunity to run, as well as coaches and mentors who help them succeed on and off the track.

 

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