Pendo and her child.

PENDO’S SECOND CHANCE

A girl’s childhood cut short: a project making sure it’s never too late to learn.

THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD

Pendo had a tough start. When she was just 12, she lost her mum, and had little choice but to drop out of school – sacrificing her own future to take care of her younger siblings. But now she has the chance to learn a trade and support her own children’s health and education.

Pendo lives in Kilifi County, near the coast in Kenya. She’s had big responsibilities since she was a child herself. She’s still only 22:

“My name is Pendo. I have three children.

“My mum was the one I talked to, when I got home from school. We would eat together and talk. She taught me about so many things. When she died, I had no-one to show me.”

“Without my mum, I had responsibilities, I had to leave school to take care of them.”

Pendo and her child.

Pendo has her own children now. She’s a mum who’s doing her best. But without qualifications or training, it’s hard to get the work she needs to support her young family.

A NEW PATH TO STABILITY

Pendo in her community.

Nearby, at a vocational training centre, an organisation called AMURT has started helping Mums in the area access training courses, so they can support their families.

To Pendo, this offers an opportunity to learn an extra skill – one that could give her a stable income, and ease some of her worries about her children’s wellbeing.

AMURT (which stands for Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team) is already helping many young women in situations like Pendo’s, get training and qualifications. So they can find work and independence, care for their families, and create their own opportunities.

This life-changing organisation also supports families to ensure good child development, caregiving, nutrition, and pre-school education – to give children like Pendo’s the best possible start in life.

Women at the salon.

Pendo signed-up for plumbing initially. She was sure it was the trade she’d get the most out of. But after testing out different courses, she settled on Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy. And she’s really enjoying it!

Your support has helped make this happen for Pendo. Project Co-Ordinator at AMURT, Fredrick, is optimistic that she’ll complete the course with everything she needs to start to earn from her trade:

“Due to poverty, parents have not been able to support their children to start education at the required age. So we are also looking to empower young mothers especially… so that they are able to fend for themselves and support their children as required, especially with basic needs.

“Once Pendo completes the training, which is sponsored by AMURT, she will be provided with a start-up kit. A start-up kit is an assortment of accessories, which are essential for somebody to start working or trading."

AN EQUAL CHANCE TO BREAK THE CYCLE

We believe that women and girls should have equal power and opportunity at all levels. And that every child should have the chance to survive and thrive. Yet every day, inequalities affect women and girls’ lives all over the world. And too many children don’t have the education, healthcare and support they need to grow up strong.

Pendo and her young family.

It is estimated that, around the world, 132 million girls are out of school. In many countries, among girls who do enter primary school, only a small portion will reach and far fewer will complete secondary school and end up in unpaid domestic work, just like Pendo. Globally, the average amount of time spent on unpaid domestic and care work is more than three times higher for women than men.

And the impact of that inequality on the youngest generations, like Pendo’s pre-school-aged children, is that their health, education and life chances are reduced, too.

With your support, we will continue to be there for young women, like Pendo, who face a lack of opportunity because of their gender. And we’ll continue to support projects like AMURT, which addresses the lack of opportunities for young mums in Kilifi County – so their children get education, opportunities and the best possible start in life.