Christine on the first day of YWA, January 2018
Christine is from Kibirichia, Kenya, and recently graduated from our 2018 Young Women's Academy for Conscious Change (YWA). She was inspired to address the issue of girls dropping out of school in her community.
“I chose this issue because it comes from people I know—one of my dearest friends dropped from Form 4 because she unexpectedly got pregnant. She missed her exams and now she cannot go to higher education. She was a talented student! She is trying to go to technical schools but she is not sure. She was so close to university but now she has lost hope, all because she is too ashamed to repeat her final year as a young mother.”
Christine knows that poverty is another big reason why students, particularly girls, drop out of school. She worked at four secondary schools in her district, telling the students about government programs that can fund their studies since many of them don’t know that they have that option. She met with parents to help them start savings groups to help plan for their children's future. Christine also spoke at local churches and helped raise money for scholarships for the poorest students in the area.
Christine didn't stop at the financial root of school drop-outs. Within the schools where she was working, she created fun activities, including book clubs, to reduce the amount of idle time girls have and, through her advocacy, teachers and school administrators have made themselves more available when students need to talk about a problem. Christine then taught the girls "better communication skills and helped them improve their self-esteem so they will be better equipped to...ask for assistance when they hit rough patches in school."
The final step in Christine's venture was to recruit her YWA counterparts to lend a hand. As a result, 30 vulnerable girls in Kibirichia now have mentors across East Africa.
In the few years prior to Christine starting her venture, 18 girls would drop out of school in her district each year - ten because they had become pregnant. In the year since, only three have become pregnant and left school.
The 24 motivated young women, including Christine, who participated in Global Grassroots' 2018 Young Women's Academy impacted 10,304 people, mostly girls, across four countries, including in one refugee camp. We have already selected those applicants who will be part of our 2019 Young Women's Academy and we look forward to welcoming them to our initial training session in January.
Your support of Global Grassroots changes the lives of vulnerable young women and girls just like Christine. Please consider becoming a monthly sponsor of our Young Women's Academy through Global Giving. Thank you so much and best wishes for a beautiful holiday season!