Keeping Girls in School: Jane’s Story

August 19th, 2022 | Stories

Jane was 20 years old when she sat for her 9th grade exams and qualified to graduate to the 10th grade. She was accepted to a secondary school in Chipata, Zambia where she began taking classes. She was doing well in class and felt optimistic about her future until she became pregnant and had to relocate to a different village.

After her son was born, Jane wanted to resume her education, but the school she attended did not allow girls who dropped due to pregnancy to come back. Jane lost hope of ever going back to school and feared she would “be a laughing stock” if she did. Fortunately, Jane had the support of her grandfather and uncle, who believed in the value of education and encouraged her to finish.

A member of the Community Welfare Assistance Committee (CWAC) of her village who had recently been training in case management system procedures introduced Jane to the Keeping Girls in School (KGS) Case Management System. Jane learned that if she enrolled, KGS would cover her tuition fees. The CWAC member referred Jane to the guidance and counseling teacher at a government-run secondary school, where she re-enrolled in 2020.

Once back in school, however, she faced challenges beyond tuition fees. To focus on her studies, Jane needed childcare support. After sharing her challenge with the guidance and counseling teacher, the school enrolled her baby in nursery school so she could take care of him and get her schoolwork done. Jane is now continuing her education and says that “KGS is covering my basic needs”, which includes school supplies.

Life as a single mother and student is challenging. Sometimes she struggles with subjects in school like math and physics. Other times she struggles to put food on the table for her two children. Nevertheless, Jane is working hard to overcome these challenges and once again feels hopeful for the future. One day, Jane says, she wants to see her children and parents escape poverty and live comfortable lives. After completing her education, she plans to become a police officer.

KGS is an initiative of the Government of Zambia that aims to reduce school drop-out rates among girls. The pilot program of KGS was implemented by The Bantwana Initiative of World Education and regional affiliate Bantwana Zimbabwe, in close partnership with the Ministry of Education, in three districts.

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