By Merritt Frey, Executive Director
I received this first-person story from Siraba, a young girl in our Girls Project. It came at a perfect time, when I personally needed a little bit of hope…to feel like change for the better is possible. I’m sharing it with you today in case you need the same thing. I send my thanks to Siraba for this story of hope, and to all of our donors who made this story possible.
My name is Siraba. I am in grade 9 at Beneko's Cliff and Nita Bailey Middle School. My parents divorced when I was 2 years old. After the divorce, my mother left and I stayed with my father. However, my father soon left too and I was then entrusted to my grandmother. In primary school, I was not interested in studying at all. I always got bad grades. For me school was a punishment. I was in a hurry to reach the age of getting married to leave school. My grandmother who was my tutor and was supposed to encourage me, talk with me about my future and the importance of education but she did not believe in education. She enrolled me in school anyway because all the children in the village attended.
When I started middle school two years ago it was also the beginning of the Girls Project. Thanks to the different activities of the Girl Project, such as monthly meetings on different themes, the menstrual cycle, the meeting with women of different skills (women nurses, engineers), the women's football competition, advice and talks, etc., I started to set goals. Little by little, I started to love school. I now feel very proud of my grades. I have been first in my class for the last two years.
I want to become a school principal to encourage a lot of girls to go to school in my village and all over the world, because I now know the importance of school for a girl. I never imagined that a girl could do some jobs such as electrician or mechanic and also play football. Even my school fees in recent years have been paid for by the Girls Project. My grandmother was really struggling to pay for my school fees.
I do not have enough words to thank the Girl Project because it allowed me to go further than I dreamed. If I had not benefited from their help, I do not know where I would be today. I am currently in my final year of middle school and I will do my graduation exam with a lot of determination and very good grades.