“There is a line that exists in Cameroon,” says World Pulse impact leader Nakinti Nofuru. “On one side I stand where – because of my parent’s encouragement and support – I have graduated from University with a Masters degree; on the other side are thousands of young girls who drop out of school because either their families do not believe in educating girls, they are forced into early marriages, are raped (by strangers, relatives or close family friends), or they cannot afford the school fees.”
Many girls standing on the side of the line where an education seems out of reach live in places without telephone network, electricity, radio/TV signals, accessible railroads, and NGOs. Lack of access to digital education and lack of family support led Nakinti, to launch “Girls Lead” clubs to educate, mentor and empower young girls on topics they know very little about including sex education, menstrual hygiene, the importance of education and Information and Communications technology.
“We knew that paying the school fees and giving them school supplies to stay in school was not enough,” says the Cameroon native. She and her team have set out to serve as role models for these girls, giving them the opportunity to be empowered and to advance.
In terms of how the lives of individuals will be improved by Girls Lead, Nakinti says: “More girls will stay in school and reach the top of the education ladder. Pregnancy and STI infections will definitely reduce.” Her hope is to eventually break the cycle of poverty.
Even though Nakinti was encouraged to put her education first, her siblings went down a different road. Her younger sisters worked with her mother and father on the farm to raise money for school fees for their elders – Nakinti included. “In my community, poverty is a big disease. Like my younger sisters, many young girls sacrifice their education for farming,” she writes.
Programs like Girls Lead will empower and encourage young women like Nakinti’s sisters to pursue an education. The clubs bring essential skills and resources to girls in villages throughout rural Cameroon, teaching them the rudimentaries of digital technology and providing them with solar powered lights and chargers, so they can study in school. And with the help of World Pulse, Nakinti is leading the way having already raised $3,000 from online supporters, contributing to her goal of impacting 1,000 girls in the next year.
Perhaps one day there will not be such a heavy line drawn between advantaged and disadvantaged, educated and uneducated, those empowered and those left behind. For now, while the line is still drawn, Nakinti is straddling the gap reaching from one side to the other to extend a helping hand.
“I want to stand in the gap for these girls and break the cycle of poverty and lack of knowledge,” she says.” With education and information on how to take care for themselves, they will progress and become leaders in their communities and in the country.” To support Nakinti and other World Pulse changemakers, visit her impact page.
World Pulse is a growing social network connecting over 25,000 people from 190 countries who are impacting more than 2.9 million lives and creating a world where all women thrive. While the heart of our movement is online, our impact goes beyond all borders and boundaries in order to unite and empower women everywhere. Join World Pulse: https://www.worldpulse.com/en/my-pulse/register