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Abshiro is a 17-year-old girl from Warable village, Garissa  County. She is one of the mapped out of school girls supported with quality education to improve their literacy and numeracy skills under the Education for Life project. She had never been to school before and is one of the girls assessed and qualified to learn at the setup catch-up centres was a dream come true for her.

In 2019, when she was mapped and assessed, she could not read or write. She was totally illiterate. After admission into the Waable catch up centre, she was provided with supportive learning and teaching materials including workbooks for English, Swahili and mathematics, pen, rubber pencil and a bag. Teaching and learning in the catch-up center are facilitated by Educator facilitators employed by ActionAid purposed to build and support girls’ capacity on literacy and numeracy. Life skills mentorship is also offered at the centres by contacted successful women within the community.

Since the catch up centres operate on a flexi-timetable, Abshiro chose to attend the learning sessions between 2 pm – 3 pm. This allowed her to help her mother with house chores in the morning then have adequate time to prepare and attend the learning sessions. She has so far improved her basic knowledge and abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enabled her to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of life. She can communicate in not only their Somali language but also Swahili and has further grasped a few English words as taught in the catch up centres.

Taclin La ’anta waa Mugdi, waxaan u ciilananhay in an wax barto oo an is anfaco’’ Abshiro said Translated to English ( I was in the dark due to lack of education. I always have the passion for education to empower myself and others)

Figure 1: Abshiro standing next to Kamuthe Women Network office in Kamuthe, Garissa County.

Girls are expected to transition to other formal and informal pathways after attaining their educational skill at the catch-up center including entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, formal education and joining vocational training centers.  After four (4) months of learning, Abshiro has already identified her transition pathway. She had been well mentored through motivational talks by Kamuthe Women Network members and female political leaders like the nominated Member of Garissa County Assembly. She had developed an interest in business and shares her dream of setting up a beauty therapy and henna decoration parlor within the area.

 “My dream is to open a salon and beauty parlor here in Warable village because most of the brides from the local villages are being taken as far as to Garissa town for beautification during their wedding. I want them to get those services here.” Abshiro stated.

She has since been linked with one of the best artisan and business guru in beauty therapy and decoration in Garissa town where she is gaining skills in the transition pathway of her choice. Since girls attend classes at catch up centers for three days in a week, she maximizes the other weekdays to attend the training on her intended business venture.  Further,  the Education for Life project team also approached the county bursary committee and shared the case of Abshiro for further support in ensuring her dream comes true.

Figure 2: A close up of the decorations done by Abshiro.