In ACT 6 (Women 4 Women), I shared about 2 young women from Starehe Girls Center who I mentor. I have been mentoring Shaba and Taiya (not their real names) since 2009 when they were in Form 4 (equivalent to O Levels / grade 12). Both sat for their national examinations in December 2009, passed with flying colors and are sure to be accepted to a good university.
In 2010 they have begun their gap period. In Kenya, due to a culmination of complicated circ***tances, the gap period between high school graduation and beginning university, college or trade school ranges from 4 - 21 months. For those girls awarded a university, college or trade school sponsorship, the survival challenges faced during the gap period are often too great to overcome. As a result, instead of completing university, college or trade school, they disappear from the radar and end up being married off to men not of their choice, working as domestic help, or in situations even worse.
The Global Give Back Circle which runs the mentorship program has arranged for both Shaba and Taiya to take MCSE cla**** sponsored by Microsoft. They will also tutor students from Starehe Girls Center where they will continue to reside as they are both orphans. Shaba wants to be a Doctor and Taiya wants to work in artificial intelligence. We are a good fit as I work in health and technology space. We speak frequently about life, dreams, hopes, options, futures and off course boys.
Both my girls are fully certified MCSE by the time they join the University. University years are long (6 years) and tough. We speak about their programs and what they are learning, how they will be able to use their skills to give back, the leadership roles they would like to play and their fears that they may not live up to expectations. And of course we talk about boys.
It is now 2017 and I am so proud to attend Shaba and Taiya’s graduation ceremonies. We sit together and look back at when I first met them, 2 scared little girls with little hope - and now look at them - 2 young professionals with a bright future ahead of them. They have been working hard to build and strengthen themselves these 10 years all the time giving back to their communities in small ways. Both now have a job and have begun to give back to the GGBC program. The Circle re-starts and what better mentors can the girls at Starehe girls have??