Sister Deirdre Mullan and the Mercy Girl Effect

In September, during Mercy Day, leaders of Merion Mercy Academy’s Student Council, Black Student Union and Campus Ministry presented the 2022-2023 Mercy Girl Effect theme: “Supplying an Education through Mercy.” In November, our community learned more about this initiative during a visit from Sister Deirdre Mullan RSM, who represents the worldwide Sisters of Mercy at the United Nations and partners with UNICEF, primarily on the Mercy Girl Effect. Branded in 2007, the Mercy Girl Effect brings together nine schools in the United States and Ireland to focus on the global education of young women, leadership and skills training, and providing opportunities for those in underdeveloped countries. 

In her presentation, Sister Deirdre shared an update on last year’s project, “Women at the Well,” which raised funds to build 19 wells in Nigeria so that young women who typically spend hours of their days fetching water can instead focus their time on education. 

Previous efforts have provided significant funding for small school builds, scholarships, provision of uniforms, and clinics in Africa and Asia. Other projects have raised money for environmental concerns and human trafficking and modern-day slavery. 

"What they all have in common," says Sister Deirdre, "is that they are focused on systematic change versus taking a bandaid approach."

This year’s “School in a Box” challenge will benefit girls at the Mukuru Centre in Nairobi. Run by Sister Mary Killeen RSM, the Mukuru Centre is home to four schools and a Skills Centre to educate the 6,000 children who live in the Mukuru slums, where the poverty level puts basic education out of reach for many.

Dollars raised for the Mercy Girl Effect can provide:

$25: Stationary materials, exercise books, pencils, and some books

$50: Uniform, shoes, and food for a girl to attend grade school for one year

$70: Disposable and recyclable sanitary material, soap, and underwear for all girls in upper grades

$200: Tools for carpentry in the Skills Centre and food for the catering students for one year

$250: A “School in a Box,” containing supplies and materials for one teacher and up to 40 children in emergency situations.

The 2022-2023 Mercy Girl Effect Challenge states: “In losing access to school, they [girls] not only lose the opportunity to learn, but also the protection that schools afford: from domestic violence, early and forced marriage and early pregnancy. Lack of education/school risks the prospects of whole families and communities, and it risks the loss of hope.” 

Merion Mercy Academy’s Mercy Girl Effect goal is to fund and provide 25 “Schools in a Box” for a total of $6,250. Fundraisers throughout the year will help students reach this goal.

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