Stories: Supporting Girls in their Pursuit of Education - Stories' from the Girls Education Challenge - Kenya & Uganda
This story was collected as part of INEE's 20th Anniversary commemoration to highlight how education in the midst of crisis and upheaval has made a difference for our members and those they work with (learners, youth, teachers, caregivers, etc.). For more stories, click here.
Supporting Girls in their Pursuit of Education - Stories' from the Girls Education Challenge
Name: Elisabetta Naborri
Organization: Girls' Education Challenge
Location: Uganda and Kenya
Gift – Uganda
Gift is a 14 year-old girl who lives near Lake Victoria in Uganda. She is the fourth of 12 children. Her parents earn their livelihood from fishing. As a girl with albinism, Gift has been teased by her siblings and bullied by some of her peers since she was a child. When Gift started school, she was isolated and bullied. Some of her teachers refused to touch her books claiming that they were unclean. Gift changed school a number of times in search for a positive and friendly environment where she could learn and make friends.
In February 2020, Gift started a new school aiming to complete her primary education and transition to secondary education. However, in March 2020, her family home was washed away by increasing water levels from Lake Victoria. Gift and her family were displaced and her parents could no longer fish and earn money. This made it difficult for them to buy the health products needed to protect her skin and eyes.
During that time the COVID-19 pandemic also hit Uganda and schools were closed. Fortunately for Gift, she has received support through the Empowering Girls with Disabilities in Uganda through Education project. The project is funded by UK Aid through the Girls' Education Challenge and is delivered by Cheshire Services Uganda (CSU).
Gift has been receiving learning materials, sanitary kits and counselling support. The project has also provided Gift with a phone to allow her to attend her lessons and do her assessments. Gift is determined to improve her family’s current economic circumstances by completing her studies so she can access employment opportunities. Her dream is to become an archaeologist.
Adhi - Kenya
Adhi is a 16 year-old girl who lives in a low-income household in a farming community in Kenya. She is in Grade 8 of secondary school and is supported by the Let our Girls Succeed (Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu) project in Kenya. The project is funded by UK Aid through the Girls’ Education Challenge and is delivered by the Education Development Trust (EDT).
Adhi was very close to being married at an early age but when she heard about the Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu project she decided to remain at school. When schools in Kenya were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Adhi tried to continue her education through radio lessons using her parents’ mobile phone. However, she found this difficult because of frequent interruptions and lack of electricity in her household. To help Adhi access the lessons, the Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu project gave her a solar powered radio.
Dudu - Kenya
Dudu is a 17 year-old girl living in a remote village in Kenya. She is in Grade 8 at a primary school and is supported by the Let our Girls Succeed (Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu) project. The project is funded by UK Aid through the Girls’ Education Challenge and is delivered by the Education Development Trust (EDT).
Dudu lives with her grandparents as her father died and her mother suffers from mental health issues. Dudu had a baby and initially dropped out of school, but she was able to return as her grandparents agreed to look after her child while she went to class. Dudu’s experiences and understanding of the way in which her circumstances led her to an early pregnancy have helped her to become a mentor to her peers who are dealing with similar issues. After joining a catch-up learning centre through the Wasichana Wetu Wafaulu project, Dudu was able to transition to Grade 8. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dudu has been continuing her studies through tutorials and learning materials provided by the project.