'I'm glad I'm a girl!'

While growing up Rachel hated the fact that she had been born a girl. She has two brothers and one sister, but Rachel and her sister were always considered to be the least important in the family.

‘My sister and I didn’t get the same chance to go to school as our brothers, instead we had to do all the work at home, including growing crops and farming for other people to make money which would be spent on our brothers.

‘When my oldest brother wanted to get married my parents started marketing me and my sister for marriage – they did this so they could get money for a dowry for my brother’s marriage.

‘My sister was so annoyed that she ran away from home and has never returned. I only escaped a forced marriage because my father got sick and my mum couldn’t take care of the whole family on her own.'

Treated equally

‘I was so surprised at Kira Farm Development Centre that we were all treated the same, regardless of our gender. It was wonderful to discover that girls are equal to boys and the teaching at Kira helped me to love myself as I am.

‘Life has changed immensely since I’ve completed my year of vocational training and returned home. I no longer think of myself as inferior and the skills I learnt at Kira have made other people see me as someone of value.

‘Thanks to the good self-esteem I now have, I have been able to sit with my parents and tell them that the way they treated me and my sister was wrong.' Prior to this Rachel, like many other girls, felt unable to speak up about the injustice she was experiencing and this normalised the situation for her parents. Once girls know their rights and values and have the courage to talk about the inequality in their lives it is often a big wake up call for those being unfair in the name of culture.

'I asked for equal rights in the family and since then I have been included in important family decisions,' smiles Rachel.


Passing on skills

‘At Kira Farm we learnt how to do Farming God’s Way (conservation farming) and I have taught my family these techniques – they’ve all been amazed by how healthy and tall my maize is compared with everyone else’s.

‘I have also been able to teach my family good hygiene and have built a tippy tap (a tap for village settings) and a drying rack (for plates and utensils) and taught them how to use them.

‘The business training we had at Kira broadened my mind and since I’ve been home I’ve been running a mobile hairdressing business and I am earning around £2.00 a day.’ Rachel had never earnt any money before so this is a real achievement.

‘Kira Farm provided me with a wonderful opportunity. Today I love myself and I no longer regret being born a girl.’

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