“I now do things on my terms.”
The power of education can be life-changing, helping girls shape their own future. Kadiatu, a 17-year-old from Sierra Leone, knows this well.
“Education and opportunities are one of the same. They make great things happen to change people’s lives.”
But in many countries like Sierra Leone, too many girls are being denied their right to education.
“School drops out rates are high here.”
Growing up, Kadiatu’s life was difficult.
“I was seven years old when my parents died. My father was a farmer who showed us love and affection, my mother a hardworking trader who made sure we didn’t lack anything.”
Kadiatu also has a disability which makes walking more difficult. Kadiatu never went to school and her disability meant she faced discrimination in her community.
Getting an education is a challenge for many girls where Kadiatu lives. Her town is far away from schools, around six miles.
“School dropout rates are high here as a result of the long-distance, and also early marriage and teenage pregnancy.”
Then, in 2019, Kadiatu met our youth mentors – young people from Sierra Leone recruited and trained by Restless Development. They encouraged Kadiatu to take part in a project that was helping women and girls learn skills they would have learned at school, such as reading and writing.
She took part in numeracy and literacy classes and also some training in how to set up a business.
With her new skills and a small grant, Kadiatu set up her own business selling condiments.
“I can now count numbers, identify the alphabet, spell my name, and give change correctly. I don’t easily get shy anymore and I’m confident now to go out and interact with people. With education, you’re a problem solver and people look up to you as an inspiration. Restless has greatly impacted my life.”
Kadiatu’s dreams don’t stop at her business.
“I want to go back to school to become a nurse if I get someone to support me. I will come back to my community to help children.”
Education makes you self-reliant. When you’re educated it exposes you to opportunities and you can turn your life around for the good.Kadiatu