International Women's Day: how we keep young women in school

The 8th March 2015 is International Women’s Day! As of this date, already in 2015, we will have provided 66,568 meals to girls supported by our projects. To young women, these meals mean they can get an education and the opportunities they need to look forward to a brighter future.

Emaculate is 15 years old and in class 6 at Kiliti primary in Kenya. She lives with her father, step-mother and six siblings.

Life has not been easy since Emaculate’s mother died. Her father’s job as a casual farm labourer only enables him to provide one meal a day for his family: a very small dinner. As a step-daughter, Emaculate finds herself last in line for food at home.

Emaculate used to get up and go to school on an empty stomach and miss lunch too. In the evening, she would go home to just half a cup of porridge or black tea.

“It was not easy. I felt very hungry over the nights and this affected my sleep. The same happened in school. I could not concentrate and this greatly affected my performance.

I thought of engaging into very dangerous activities which would otherwise affect me for the rest of my life. I even thought of getting married to solve the whole issue.”

But life changed in 2011 when Emaculate enrolled on our program at the OGRA feeding centre. She says:

“When I heard of the program and managed to get enrolled, a lot has changed in my life. I found new hope to guide me through.

Even though breakfast and lunch are hard to come by, I always console myself that I will get something to fill my stomach with in the morning and at lunch time at the Feeding Centre. Apart from the food, I was also given a school uniform and a pair of rubber shoes.

Life has been better and I always encourage myself to work hard and get good marks. My only request is for OGRA Foundation to support us through our secondary education to help better our future. Otherwise, erokamano (thank you).”

As well as food, KOP provide young women like Emaculate with menstrual hygiene and sex education. This ensures that girls are not missing out on up to a week of school every month. Our support helps prevent girls in Emaculate’s village from putting themselves at risk of pregnancy by exchanging sex for sanitary towels.

You can help us support more young women. Do something inspiring today and change the lives of children who don’t have a head start in life. Donate.