23-year-old Beatrice Achieng is the fourth born in a family of five from Ragana Ward in Migori County. Three years ago she joined DREAMS after her parents were unable to pay her school fees in secondary school. Through the education subsidy, DREAMS was able to pay her school fees and help her complete her education.
Unfortunately, after secondary school her mother fell ill and a year later she lost her parents in consecutive years further affecting her dream of joining college. DREAMS had offered her different trainings at secondary school and she was able to join a village savings and loan group where she made some savings and secured a loan to start a small business of selling Mandazi.
Her commitment to the group led to her selection to become a DREAMS mentor in her village.
‘DREAMS empowered me to know the risks that adolescent girls face in their life and I was determined to make my life better. The mentorship gave me an opportunity to meet more people and share lessons from the training. I am glad that I am now a mentor of 130 girls who are in and out of school.’
Beatrice lives with her sister and younger brother and has been able to save some money from her mentorship stipend and pay for her college studies. She is now in her second year of college undertaking a course in social work and community development.
Besides her education, she was able to convince her brother who had dropped out of school to resume his studies. Her efforts in mentoring young girls led to her promotion to become a DEAMS financial capability trainer. She is now able to earn more money which caters for her college education and her brother’s secondary education, making her a role model in the community.
‘I have been approached by young girls and parents who need my advice. During this COVID-19 pandemic, I have been visiting girls and encouraging them to avoid peer pressure and keep on with their studies.’ Shared Beatrice
‘DREAMS helped me to know that marriage is not a career and taught me much about sexual reproductive health. I hope to mentor more girls and grow in my career and support my brother’s education.’ Concludes Beatrice.
By Alfred Itunga