With her Food4School program, educator Marilyn Mosley Gordanier hopes that giving families money to buy food will allow them to pay for their daughters’ education and keep them from turning to child marriage to make ends meet.

Marilyn Mosley Gordanier’s life changed the day she sat down in front of a film about girls in the developing world who struggle to access education. The film, “Girl Rising,” was all the more significant for Mosley Gordanier because the Afghan segment was directed by her daughter, Ramaa Mosley. As she watched, Mosley Gordanier found herself deeply affected by the stories of girls who want nothing more than to go to school, but can’t because their parents don’t have the money to send them.

The founder of the Laurel Springs School, one of the early online schools, Mosley Gordanier has been advocating the importance of education for more than 35 years. In order to make a difference for girls in Afghanistan, she knew she would need the help of people who understood how to navigate the country’s political, cultural and religious landscape. Four years ago, she partnered up with Ramaa and Afghan native and BBC journalist Zarguna Kargar to form Food4School. The idea is to provide impoverished families in Afghanistan with a monthly stipend to purchase food, which then frees up enough money for parents to send their daughters to school.

Women & Girls spoke with Mosley Gordanier, who’s based in California, about the power of giving women control over family finances and how access to education can prevent child marriage.

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