For international women’s day we hear from two women: Millicent and Esther. From a society where getting a full education is incredibly difficult, these are just two inspiring stories about individuals overcoming great hardships to reach their goals – and both eventually gaining scholarships from international charity, One Girl Can.
My name is Millicent. I have lived in the Kibera slums in Nairobi, Kenya, since childhood. The slums are harsh conditions for a child, and girls are vulnerable to rape, neglect, robbery and sickness. I was frequently sent home from school because my family couldn’t afford to pay my fees. But life has taught me to smile at challenges and not get discouraged.
As the fee arrears piled up, my desire to excel in school increased. I got a good enough grades to secure me a place at a good university but it was impossible to find the resources to cater for my education. Then I got a scholarship from One Girl and I could see hope right in front of my eyes! I registered at The Multimedia University of Kenya to study Journalism.
Now I sit in a lecture hall with my eyes beaming with light! Now I dress well and afford a meal every day and I am very thankful. Now I can look at myself in the mirror and feel proud of who I am becoming – a determined and confident woman who will achieve what she wants to be in life. A woman who is able to use her voice to bring change. When I think about what life would be like if not for this incredible chance, it is heartbreaking.
I am now in my first year at university; balancing studies and reading, keeping healthy in preparation for a good life ahead, meditating and offering peer-to-peer mentorship at school and for my three sisters at home. How wonderful that a girl, in a world of boys and men, can triumph and be a beacon of hope to others! I have discovered that no one is needy if they have opportunity. It will not be long before I sit in a better seat in society, before I see a changed world, before I see a girl rise above and against all odds and achieve her dreams.
I thank One Girl Can for giving me this opportunity, and my mother who gave me life. As a child, she was forced to quit her studies because she was a girl and her chance to fulfill her dreams was shattered. However, she had faith and did not despair. Now I can boldly tell her to keep calm for the fruits she bore to this world; my sisters and I are going to turn the tables. Happy international women’s day!
‘My grandmother had no job and people mocked me because I could not afford to go to school. But I learned to be very serious with my education. My brothers and sisters always encouraged me to study hard, bearing in mind that patience pays and hardwork never goes unrewarded.’
Esther, 16, lost both her parents by the time she was 6 years old. As the youngest of 5, it was impossible for her grandmother to afford the fees to keep her in school. One Girl Can gave Esther a high school scholarship and she is working hard to achieve her dreams!