By Ibrahima Diallo; Edited by Leanna Cappiello
“I come from a modest family. Due to our difficult situation and the absence of financial support, I had to drop out school,” says 23-year-old Salimata. Unfortunately, this is the case for many other young men and women in the Kankossa community.
This mother of two had no way to support either herself or her children. “I left school at a very young age and I had no activity to rely on. I have always wanted to continue my studies but the chance never presented itself,” continued Salimata.
Many children and teens are in the same situation, and aren’t able to continue their studies for different reasons. Some of them come from poor or vulnerable households and had to work in order to provide for their families. Others simply did not have birth certificates, which meant their education was limited.
To respond, World Vision partnered with UNICEF to initiate a child protection project in 2014, with the goal of protecting children from violence, exploitation, discrimination, abuse and negligence. Some action steps include bringing children who are in the workforce back to finish school and assisting poor and vulnerable households to support themselves financially.
For Salimata, this meant learning a new trade: hairstyling. “Thanks to this project, I received training in hairstyling and I was able to have my own shop which helps me earn a living.”
Not only is Salimata learning a new trade and getting inspired to be a self-starter, she’s also becoming a mentor. “Now, I am able to train other teenagers who were obliged to leave school the same way I was,” said Salimata with pride. The project provides trades training in hairstyle, as well as sewing and computer engineering.
Salimata feels that since the project has helped her find stability and meaning in her work, she has a responsibility and desire to help others like her. “Many children could end up being criminals or homeless in the streets with no activities, no defense or protection,” she adds with concern. She is grateful she’d had the chance to rise above and help others do the same.
Many children and teenagers who were trained as part of this program have had the chance to find a job and generate their own income, which in turn helped them avoid criminal life and poverty.
Help a hardworking family provide for their children. Invest in a small business.