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Changing attitudes to girls' education

At Kasmeni Primary School in southwest Kwale the 367 students and their families face challenges including drought, hunger and poverty. This means education is often not prioritised and many children, especially girls, miss out on school to help within the home. For this reason, less than a quarter of girls in Kwale complete primary school.

Thanks to funding provided by Comic Relief, Kasmeni is part of Build Africa’s Changing Futures for Girls project which is tackling the barriers that stop girls attending, participating and achieving in primary school. Parents involved in the project are now better able to support their children’s education.

Elizabeth’s daughters have all attended Kasmeni, however her older children were both married when they reached class six (at 16 and 17 years old) without completing school:

“I never understood the importance of education, more so girls’ education. According to me then, a woman did not need education to get married. I looked at my own life as an example. Here I am, never gone to school, I am married and have children who are now in school and my life continues. So what is the importance of education? I did not really see the need for education."

However, after attending an event at the school run by Build Africa her attitude was transformed.

“I felt like the speaker was speaking to me personally. After that meeting I realised how I have done injustice to my two daughters and decided that I needed to make amends. Since I cannot undo what has been done I decided that I can change the future. I look at the lives my two daughters are living and my heart bleeds out for them as they are living in misery. I cry inside and tell myself had I known I would have taken my girls to school. 

"I realised I have another chance to remedy the situation. Right now I have a daughter Juliana who is now in class seven. I can see that my daughter wants to continue with education and she is also working hard. I will do everything in my power to support my girl and make sure that she gets education needed to change her future and to make it better than mine. For my married girls, if there was a way I could make amends for them, if only I could."