Meet Our Ambassadors: Hélène

by Because I am a Girl

The second International Day of the Girl Child is just 9 days away! On October 11, 2013 we will welcome another delegation of Because I am a Girl ambassadors to New York City to mark this special occasion. Here's Hélène's story:

Hélène is a 14 year old student from the Sanmatenga province of Burkina Faso. She was first introduced to Plan through the primary school that was constructed in her village. Helene was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend school and be a positive role model for her five siblings.

Throughout primary school, Hélène was an active and engaged student. By grade 6, she was able to read and write in French which was a valuable skill in her rural village. She began acting as a translator for her family and neighbors, helping them make sense of the written word. Hélène gained the respect of her community and she was proud to be seen as a leader. However, after completing primary school, Hélène feared she had reached the end of her education. There were no other schools in the area to offer classes beyond the sixth grade. If Hélène wasn’t in school she would have to work or worse, get married.

Hélène became involved in Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign in her village and she learned that there were alternatives to work or marriage. It was through Because I am a Girl that Hélène learned about a new secondary school located roughly fifty miles from her home.

Hélène expressed her interest in continuing her education to Plan staff and was excited to learn that the new school was the first of its kind; a girls-only, residential, post-primary education complex. The facility had blocks of classrooms, a dormitory, a dining hall and even a solar-powered water pump. Knowing that this would be the opportunity for her to advance her education and be an inspiration for her community, Hélène applied and was honored to be accepted into the program.

Hélène’s commitment to helping others continues at her new school where she tutors her classmates in English and Math. Because of her excellent presentation and leadership skills, Hélène was chosen to address Plan International’s CEO, Nigel Chapman, during his recent visit to the school (You can see Nigel with the students in the image above. Hélène is seated in the first row, third child in). We are thrilled that Hélène is a part of the Plan family!