I am among the first beneficiaries of Rural Women Peace Link’s Girl Child Education Support and Mentorship Program. I grew up in West Pokot County, one of the most difficult places to grow for a girl and joined Konyao primary school in North Pokot for my primary education, I however, lived with the constant threat of being forced to drop out of school due to the cultural practices that young girls were subjected to. Girls were expected to get circumcised and become wives at a very tender age
Girls started dropping out of school from as early as 10 years old because as soon as a girl reached puberty, she was considered ready for marriage. As girls we went to school knowing that at some point we would drop out. One Friday there would be five girls in class, and the next Monday one or two would be missing.
In spite of all the challenges and pressure, I soldiered on and maintained my focus on education with the hope for a better future. Some people laughed at me for remaining in school while other girls were getting married and having children, but I was not deterred at all. The main phrase that used to scare us from school was that we would start smelling bad if we stayed too long without getting married.
School for my secondary education. I worked hard and attained a mean grade of B which earned me a place at Moi University, Eldoret.
My hard work and patience paid off when in 2010 I became the first girl from my division to graduate from the university. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and I now work as a Teacher, I also spend most of my holiday time mentoring children from underprivileged backgrounds.
I am full of gratitude to my sponsors, and harbour the desire to give back to my community and to affect the lives of young girls. I feel I have a debt to pay back to the society. Rural Women Peace Link touched my life, and I am now touching the lives of others. “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”, therefore I am anxious to help other children from my community, especially girls, to work hard in school and to improve their lives.
When growing up, most of the girls from my area were subjected to Female Genital Mutilation, followed by forced marriage and to date, not much has changed. The pressure to get married early is still there. The problems I went through are still there and I just want them to know that they can have a better life if they complete/ access education.
Through my small project dubbed “Champion for Champions” I am showing young girls in West Pokot that it is possible to have a better life. I want to be a perfect example for children from my village of Konyao in North Pokot Sub County. At first, I was reaching out to a small group of 8 children during the school holidays. I was teaching them about the importance of education and moral uprightness. That group of 8 has now grown to 187 youths that I was reaching out to over the 2018 December holidays.
My greatest wish is for more actors to join the mentorship and Girl Education support program to enable young girls to achieve their dreams and have a career in life like I did. Girls who undergo female genital mutilation and get married early are more likely to suffer poverty and complications in childbirth. They need to be informed and educated on the consequences and that can only happen if more actors join the field