AGE 13, GRADE 8 (2019)
Faith comes from a small village near the KCE campus. She is one of 10 children, and her mother runs a shop at the local market to support the family. Four of Faith’s siblings are in school, but some of her sisters were forced to drop out because of her family’s financial struggles. They are all married now. Faith says that growing up, she was often sent home from her old school for months at a time when her parents were unable to pay school fees. Faith decided to come to KCE when her family’s financial struggles worsened after her father lost his job, because she knew she needed the extra support more than ever. Faith says that without KCE’s support, she would have dropped out of school and would likely be married today.
Instead, Faith is a dedicated and passionate 8th grader at KCE with much to say about the importance of education and girls’ rights! She says she has learned about the harmful effects of FGM and early marriage and took what she learned home to share with her family. Now, they understand the detrimental effects, and she says they no longer want to subject Faith or any of their other daughters to FGM or early marriage.
Faith says her favorite part of being at KCE are the Health and Leadership Training camps, where she is learning how to fight for girls’ rights and work to end FGM and child marriage. Faith says the trainings have taught her that “girls have a right to an education and they have a right to life. Whenever their parents don’t listen to them, they should look for other people who can help them.” Faith says she also enjoys the Health and Leadership Trainings because she is learning about how to become a good public speaker. “I like KCE because they are training us to be future leaders like Kakenya is.”
Faith says she would like to tell other girls like her “to be courageous and not to stand to let their parents put them through FGM.” She also encourages her peers to engage and speak with parents and other adults who don’t have access to the information students like her have received about health and rights. “When I’m back at home I hear some of the parents saying that their daughters will go through FGM. I tell them FGM isn’t good. They don’t always believe me, but I repeat, I keep telling them until they begin to trust and believe me. I explain why it’s bad until they understand and eventually they come around.”
Faith’s favorite subjects are social studies, English and Kiswahili, and she aspires to be a journalist one day.