One of the perks of having some of the US Team travel to Africa for a Global Strategy Meet is making our library of stories richer. To be able to share with the Asante Africa community worldwide stories about the impact that we’re able to make. A lot of them are heartwarming, a lot of them give us hope, and some of them give a hard reminder of why we should continue doing what we do.
The story we share here is an example of the latter. The topic might not make it an easy read, but if we ever needed evidence that we can do something for change, then this would be it.
A frightened, malnourished girl sits in a room of Asante Africa Foundation Board Members and begins her plea for help. Her story is heard far too often in rural Africa.
Kypuu lost her mother to illness before she turned five. Her father, wanting nothing to do with her, sent her to live with her maternal Grandmother in a neighboring village.
Her Grandmother died less than a year later. This was the last time she felt wanted or loved. After the death of her Grandmother, Kypuu is sent to live with her Uncle’s family, where she is not wanted. Life is hard. Years pass without much change. She is ten years old now and does not know how to read or write. She wants to go to school, but the family refuses to pay the school fees. Even though tuition fees in public schools was eliminated and education was made compulsory from age 7 onwards, the families still must pay for textbooks, supplies and examination fees. These fees are a huge barrier to entry.
One day a determined Kypuu sets off on a journey to the local primary school five kilometers away and waits to speak to the head teacher. The head teacher hears her plea. She knows that the only way Kypuu will get an education is if she can find a sponsor for her fees. After many months, she finds a sponsor for Kypuu. Now the family cannot refuse.
Kypuu works very hard at school. She had missed Kindergarten through 4th grade, but in two years, she passes 5th grade. Her teacher, who accompanied her on this journey to Arusha, reports that her test scores are some of the highest in the county. The primary school Kypuu attends is supported by Asante Africa’s Girls Advancement Program. This after school program teaches young girls in rural areas about their rights, self-esteem, reproductive health, hygiene, financial literacy and much more. All is good, for a while.
(Asante Africa Foundation’s Girls Advancement Program)
This story takes a turn for the worse when at the age of 12 Kypuu’s father marries her off. She is taken from school and sold to a man she does not know. Married and afraid, Kypuu waits for a chance to escape. Finally the time comes, she runs to the local authorities. And because of Asante Africa Foundation, she knows her rights.
No longer required to be married, the authorities returned Kypuu to her uncle’s family and life gets worse. In retaliation, the Aunts accuse Kypuu of crushing the maize and beans into uneatable powder. This is a serious offense as food is scarce. Her Uncle beats her severely. For months the lies and beatings continue. No longer able to endure, she runs away yet again. She runs to her place of refuge; her school. In fear for her life, the head teacher purchases bus tickets to Arusha and they travel to Asante Africa Foundation to tell her story.
Yohana Mcha is a board member for Asante Africa Foundation and a powerhouse for youth education in Tanzania. Upon hearing the story she arranges a new school and boarding for Kypuu, in a town far away from her family. After she finishes her primary school, she will transfer to Mama Mcha’s secondary school. Safe at last!
Now it is just a matter of raising enough money to cover her expenses. Annual fees including boarding and life skill classes are $1,000 per year. As little as $85 per month can give these girls a safe space to live, quality education, life skills to protect themselves, and the opportunity to reach their dreams. You can support Asante Africa Foundation in their endeavors, and help make an impact.