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Success Stories

Youth & Economic Empowerment

Girls Take the Lead in Rwanda's Refugee Camps

Tantine hopes to save enough money to fund hair dressing lessons.

Tantine, 17, is a project participant

Gaining Financial Skills and Independence

“A lot of things have changed since I joined this project. I used to be so nervous and could get angry so easily, but now I am able to handle any situation, however tough it might be.

I liked very much the sessions about having a purpose and confidence with money.

After taking part in financial lessons, I asked for 500 RWF from my mother and bought some avocados so I could resell them in the camp to make a profit.

My ultimate goal is to one day earn enough money to pay for hair dressing lessons. They cost [$120] for six months of classes.

Apart from managing our finances, I also learned how to avoid being forced into sexual activities by boys.”

Lydie is a project mentor who is ensuring that children stay in school.

Lydie, 20, is a project mentor

Keeping Children in School

“Because of the work we do as mentors, eight children have gone back to school after being convinced of the importance of studying through our campaigns, events, and the other activities we do here in the camp.

Before joining the Girls Take the Lead project, I was a bad girl in the camp. Everyone knew me for that. I had a friend who was my partner in crime. She is the one who got me involved in wrongdoings. Her mother was selling illegal drugs.

I, myself, was an illegal drug addict since the age of 13. I smoked cannabis and was an alcoholic. What made me want to change was that my family hated me so much that I felt useless and could not see any clear future ahead of me.

I decided to change when I realized that my family did not trust me anymore or involve me in family life.

They trusted my younger siblings to stay at home, but would make me leave the house so they could lock the door before they went anywhere, as they did not consider me as someone that could be trusted to look after the house.

I reflected on who I had become, and then decided that I should change, as it hurt me to see that my mother would give my younger sister a normal task, but not me. That is when I realized that doing drugs had turned me into another person.

I also thought much about myself when I had my baby. I started wondering what kind of a person she would grow up to become if I continued doing drugs, so I stopped. It now has been close to three years since I stopped.”

Plan's BLOOM curriculum has given Vanessa the confidence to manage her money and help other girls.

Vanessa, 24, is a project mentor

Gaining Self-Confidence

"There is a difference between how I was before and after joining the Girls Take the Lead project and learned about the BLOOM curriculum. I used to feel like I had no friends. The only solution I could see to my problems was to cry. I would cry all day long, even two days straight.

I refused to eat. I would not care for myself nor my own children. I was in a big depression for so long because I was always thinking that I had made a huge mistake getting pregnant and giving birth at an early age.

I lost all my confidence because I had a baby when I was too young. I was ashamed to give advice to anyone else because I thought that they must be asking themselves why they should trust what I say when they all know that I gave birth when I was teenager.

But now that I have been trained on the BLOOM curriculum and am part of the group of mentors, I am so confident and I know what I talk about.

Thanks to the Girls Take the Lead project, I have changed. We started with a lesson called ‘knowing yourself.’ This helped me learn so much about various issues, which I did not know before.

I would like the project to be extended because it would be good to reach more people.

Young people aged 18, 19, and 20 also need this kind of information about reproductive health and financial understanding, as I know so many who did not have the chance to learn about it.”

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