Jennifer’s village in Ghana can be seen just beyond the fence of her schoolyard. She lives with her grandparents while her mother and father do farm work in another province.
It’s not unusual in many parts of rural Africa for parents to have to travel to earn money to care for their families, even if this means living away from their children most of the time. And still, sometimes, this is not enough.
“My parents went to farm so that they could get our daily bread. They give most of the produce to the landowner and the rest they bring home – including maize and yams.”
From time to time, Jennifer shares a ride on a cargo truck to visit her parents. When it’s time for her to return to her grandparents’ home, her mother and father send fresh vegetables with her.
Jennifer was previously admitted to secondary school, but her family was not able to afford the fees. She was so determined to go to school that she started work in a bar to earn money for her own tuition. Jennifer worked 19 hours a day, every day of the week, tolerating the verbal abuse of customers and earning less than a dollar a day. When she was finally able to earn enough for another school term she learned she would receive a Camfed scholarship to complete secondary school.
For many children, employment puts them at risk of abuse and makes them miss school. Camfed’s scholarships relieve families of a financial pressure, and surround the girls with supportive networks.
Girls enter schools in groups for peer support; they receive counseling from trained Teacher Mentors; and after school they are not left alone, but can enter CAMA and access training and grants to help them secure safe and productive employment.
“I was overjoyed!” Jennifer said. She’s now focusing her studies on General Arts, and plans to become a journalist. “I want to explore the world,” she said. “I need to interact with more people… To know their lives.”
But Jennifer's story doesn’t end there. Just as Jennifer completes her secondary education, she will find a powerful alumnae network – CAMA – that is over 33,000 members strong and growing.
Read more inspirational stories
Check out more inspirational stories of Camfed-supported girls and CAMA members