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Felisters’ story of strength

Felisters was at rock bottom, she felt so alone. Her unintended pregnancy at 14, left her shunned from her family and isolated from her community. With little hope for her future, she was preparing to undergo Female Genital Cutting (FGC) so she would be ready for marriage — her dreams of education left shattered. Felisters painfully recalls:

‘I had hopes of going to high school, I had passed my Standard 8 exams, but when I got pregnant it was no longer an option. The father of my baby boy said the child was not his, so all of the responsibility and expenses fell solely on me’.

Feeling trapped and desperate, by the time her son reached the age of one, FGC and marriage seemed like her only option. Despite the practice of FGC being illegal in Kenya, this is the common reality for young girls like Felisters who come from poor, rural regions like Baringo County.

Fortunately for Felisters on the day of her FGC ritual a brief interaction with a young girl around the same age changed the course of her life.

‘Why don’t you speak to So They Can? I’ve heard that they have a project that gives young mums a second chance’.

The consultations with the So They Can Kenya staff in the nearby Baringo office that followed led to Felisters re-enrolment in school. Like Felisters, 75% of the students at Ningyang Girls’ High School have run away from home to avoid harmful cultural practices, determined to finish their education with hopes for  their futures.

Today 16-year old Felisters feels empowered and optimistic about her future, she dreams of becoming a University Lecturer. She also wants to be a motivational speaker, to share her experience and let other girls know that even when hope feels lost there’s always a reason to ‘push forward for a second chance’.

508 girls were supported to continue their education at Ningyang Girls’ High School in 2022.

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