At Kisaruni Girls Secondary Schools students in the journalism club write reports on campus activities and learn photography and computer literacy skills. As part of our Local Voices series, we feature a blog post written by a j-club member who wants to share her story with you.
Grade 9 student Agnes shares why she started Okoa Teen—Swahili for Save a Teen—on holiday at home.
By Agnes Rampai
I used to be very shy, but in my first months at Kisaruni I started learning leadership skills. When it came time for a holiday break, I wanted to share the leadership skills I was learning in high school with my friends at home. I started talking with some of the teenagers in my village to also build their confidence.
One Saturday morning I was going home from one of the meetings when I noticed many people, especially teenagers, working at a nearby construction site.
Some were even younger than me. I cut my journey short to talk with them. I learned that some were working there in search of school fees, and to get money for clothing and food. Many were raised by single parents who forced them to work in order to earn a living.
I didn’t know what to do. Questions crisscrossed my mind as I sat down there on a rock.
I couldn’t just go home and do nothing. Their stories were very fresh in my mind. I gathered my strength and promised to come back the following day.
The next day I spoke to my friend Diana, someone who is a very good public speaker, to help me. We decided that we had to do something about it.
We came up with a program and called it Okoa Teen—Swahili for Save a Teen. We put posters all over the village inviting the teenagers to meet with us on Saturday, when they weren’t working. We started training them on the same leadership skills we had been taught at school, and provided advice and encouragement. I shared how I used to be very shy, and now I was taking initiative to follow my dreams. Over time we got the community involved and some members even pledged to help send the teens back to school.
I learned a lot spending the holiday this way, but the biggest lesson would be that everyone has something to offer the world. I learned that even small things such as being shy shouldn’t stop you from doing great things.