Damaris’s story: inspiring others to keep girls in school

Jul 9, 2018

Damaris never went to school herself, but she is determined to help others in her community to understand the importance of a girls’ education.

Some of the community members supported through our project, watering a vegetable patch
Some of the community members supported through our project in Kenya

Damaris, from Kenya, is a mother of three girls and her husband is a construction worker. She never went to school but is determined to ensure that her girls finish their education. The local chief in her community recommended Damaris to our local partner organisation in Kenya, PHARP, as a field officer for our project. She was then invited to participate in the peace-building, literacy and mediation training.

Damaris said:

“I am delighted to be part of this project. For a very long time, I have been disappointed that some girls in my community are not able to go to school and realise their dreams. On several occasions, I tried to sensitise mothers on the need for taking their girls to school. But my efforts were met with excuses from women that the culture demands girls to be married off at an early age.

“However, when I received the training I was able to voice my concerns for my community. With the support of PHARP and my fellow field officers, I have encouraged seven mothers in my community to send their girls to school. As of January, nine girls are now enrolled in a local government school, which offers free education.”

Despite her lack of formal education, Damaris has thrived in her role as field officer. Through her new knowledge gained on trauma healing, forgiveness and conflict transformation, Damaris has improved her approach to advising members of her family and wider community. Already, she is improving community attitudes towards education and encouraging other women to gain basic literacy skills.

Peace-building skills are vital in Kenyan areas troubled by tribal tensions. So, working with religious and lay leaders, we have trained 70 people in literacy and conflict resolution. They then trained 350 peace ambassadors. Every month, these peace ambassadors resolve numerous disputes and raise awareness of issues within their communities, such as the importance of education. Read more about our projects here