One Girl at a Time: Exchanging Routine for Opportunity In
Each morning she will wash the dishes, fetch water for her family, and sweep the compound; a routine thousands of girls across Sierra Leone mirror each day.
But for Doris, the best part of her day is about to begin as she grabs her bag and starts her walk toward the junior high school nearby.
In Sierra Leone, when a community does not value a girl, her future is often bleak. Parents see few options for their daughters and send their sons to school instead. Lacking basic economic skills, a girl has few job opportunities, and is more likely to become pregnant and married before her 18th birthday than to finish her secondary education. But things are different for Doris. Her participation in Plan’s Girl Power project has helped her recognize her potential, and her membership in the Young Girls Village Savings and Loans Association has enabled her mother to pay her secondary school fees while saving for her younger siblings’ education.
Standing proud during her end of school year celebration, Doris recites a poem she wrote about the common fate of girls in Sierra Leone and gave thanks for her opportunity to break the cycle . “I want to thank Plan for bringing the Girl Power program to us. It has helped us greatly. Girls in this village will not go astray again. The girls will not go to the street again; they will stay at home and concentrate on the things that will advance their lives.” Doris is a powerful example of how an educated woman can not only change her own destiny, but her family and community too.
Did You Know?
- In the 1990s, a civil war fueled by Sierra Leone’s diamonds ravaged the country and was marked by horrific cases of violence and rape.
- Although the country is relatively stable today, violence is still very much a part of life.
- Nearly half of Sierra Leonean girls become teen mothers, and more than 1 in 10 girls gives birth by age 15 and drops out of school.
You + Plan =
42 community volunteers trained to lead
84 savings groups,
50 savings groups were trained and provided with start‐up kits,
ongoing support for 1,080 existing VSL members and
One bright future for Doris!
Thank you! Your continuous support is critical. Learn more about Plan’s Because I am a Girl Sierra Leone Project.