“I feel like this work is changing the world!”
In Kenya, girls face particular obstacles when it comes to education and formal employment. Especially further education after primary education is the stage where most girls are excluded resulting in much lower chances of financial independence and employability than men.
Vocational training services are part of the recent effort by Kenya’s government to improve the population’s education, however, girls are underrepresented in these institutions. Facilities like Tewa Training Centre are therefore a big stepping stone for many girls into meaningful employment.
Sussy’s story, a teacher and mentor at Tewa Training College, not only confirms the difficulties girls face regarding education but also presents a solution and hope for this problem. With an understanding of the local circumstances why girls might not be able to continue education, Sussy is part of an outreach project that talks to parents in rural areas, advocating for girls’ education and overcoming spatial boundaries by bringing some of their classes to the girls’ homes.
“We have to teach their parents first. Unless the parents say yes, the child will not come to school. We also take some of our vocational training classes out into the villages, and we show them how to bake cakes, for example, using local materials in the clay oven to make different items”, she told us.
Sussy work has a huge impact on the local population: “they can see there is hope”, she explained, “our job is to convince them that they have to start from somewhere”.
It is particularly her own background that equips her to understand the struggles of young girls but also allows her to be a role model to them as she managed to follow her dream and become a teacher.
The financial burden of education is still something that creates additional obstacles for girls’ education, which is why supporting institutions like Tewa Training College, is not only beneficial to individual girls’ lives but also transforms the whole countries’ social and economic situation: “I feel like this work is changing the world”, explains Sussy.