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 grade 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, 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.