Tingle fosters empowerment and education through Teach Her

Molly Smith, Sports Editor

Makena Tingle has been fundraising for the Teach Her non-profit.

Around the world, there are more than four million orphaned girls. Left with no parents and not enough people to fight for them, they are often more susceptible to sex trafficking as well as a life of poverty. The Teach Her Non-Profit is a non-denominational organization that works to raise money for orphaned girls across the world. This money is used to help them reach their full potential and go to college.

Makena Tingle, a sophomore at Westford Academy, has joined the movement. She was first introduced to John Marshall, the founder of the non-profit Teach Her, through her dad who had previously known him.

Marshall started this non-profit after he went to India and spent a lot of time in an orphanage on the Nepal border. After becoming ill, Marshall spent six months in an orphanage recuperating where he met a bunch of orphans.  He discovered that these children were more than their past, and deserved a chance for a future. Over the next six years, he decided to spend half of the year in India helping orphaned kids. As some of them graduated high school, he began talking about future plans and asked them if any of them had plans to go to college. When eight girls responded that they would want that opportunity, he immediately got involved, trying to raise money and help them get in. Within the next year, Marshall had thirteen girls enrolled in the top private universities in India.

If they [orphan girls] leave their institutions at 18 years old and enter the world without family or a proper education, they are ten times more likely to end up in sex work and 500 times more likely to take their own life. Education is really the only way to lift these kids off the dead-end path they are on,” Marshall said.

With all this in mind, Tingle knew she could help.

“I immediately felt connected to it just because I value education so much, and I’m grateful for it and I’m definitely for women’s rights as well. What these girls go through if they don’t get an education is really sad,” Tingle said.

Even now, girls in orphanages often don’t get the same opportunities as their male counterparts. Instead of being allowed to go out and play, they are left inside to help with indoor tasks and are also the second priority when it comes to education.

Coming from Westford, where she is able to get the quality education that she deserves, Tingle feels lucky that she is in a position where she can rely on other people to help push her to her goals and she has the ability to go to college as well.

She describes herself as a hard worker and cites her motivation in life as her future possibilities. She wants to study theater and college and maybe one day even partake in Broadway shows. Her hard work and motivation shine through with the work that she is doing for Teach Her.

“I am blown away by the passion and energy of my Teach Her Challenge participants like Makena. When I first called her and heard how motivated she was, I got off the phone thinking: there is nothing this girl can’t do. She is an unstoppable force,” Marshall said. 

With a goal in mind to send one girl to university, Tingle is well on her way. Over the past few months, she has been able to raise over 7,ooo dollars. This money is enough to send a girl to two years of a three-year degree. But it doesn’t stop there, Tingle hopes for this to become an annual tradition and hopes to send one girl to college per year.

“[I’m] just sticking up for girls that just don’t have a voice, and they don’t have the resources like me, and I’m lucky I can go to multiple sources and be like hey, can you give a certain amount of money,” Tingle said.

Although Tingle says that asking others for money is a challenging and awkward task, she believes that once people start to learn about the benefits that education can have on underprivileged girls, it helps make people see Teach Her in a new light.

I don’t think of Teach Her as a charity at all. I see it as a partnership with these girls. We are helping them aim higher and dream bigger while they are inspiring the world to come together and get involved,” Marshall said. 

Tingle is looking forward to the prospect of potentially meeting these girls someday. She hopes she is able to learn a little bit more about the world around her through the opposite experiences some of these girls have.

“It is a partnership between these girls. They both learn from one another. Sponsors can also learn a great deal about love, compassion, taking action to make a difference, and making global connections,” Tingle’s mother Joanne Tingle said.



The Teach Her organization is always looking for new participants, and Tingle is always available to talk with interested boys or girls about her experiences with the organization. She believes that even though it may seem like a daunting task to start, once you get the hang of it, the possibilities are endless.

I would invite anyone at Westford Academy who cares about girls’ education to take the Teach Her Challenge. Talk to Makena about it and get involved. It’s mostly been girls so far, but I’d love to see boys step up too. In fact, If a group of students want to give it a try, I’d be willing to come to you and shoot your videos. I’ll be heading to Maine at the end of April, and would love to swing by,” Marshall said.

If you are interested in donating to Makena Tingle’s fundraising efforts, click here.