Voices of Young Women Engaged in the Comprehensive Workforce Readiness Program: Lorena’s Story

February 28th, 2022 | Stories


Lorena is a 16-year old girl who lives with her siblings and unemployed elder parents in Mozambique. With her family facing financial struggles, Lorena became involved with the Siyakha Girls Pilot Project after enrolling in one of the DREAMS clubs for girls in her area. Through her participation in DREAMS and Siyakha, she has learned a great deal about GBV, HIV prevention, and sexual and reproductive health. However, for Lorena, the most impactful aspect of the project was the financial literacy component, which, she says, “allowed me to earn to save money, obtain a source of income, and save my earnings in order to pay for my studies.”

Young woman from Mozambique who holds lettuce she is growing to earn income through the Siyakha Girls model and DREAMS program.World Education’s Bantwana Initiative developed The Siyakha Girls Model to empower girls like Lorena to succeed in school, in jobs, and in relationships. Siyakha Girls is an economic strengthening framework, initially designed and tested in Zimbabwe to reach vulnerable adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) ages 15 to 24 by combining life and job skills-building with internships and mentorship. The model also integrates health and financial literacy to build savings and increase access to credit. Through teaching the right set of skills and providing tailored supports built on the active engagement of AGYW, their families, and their employers, World Education is helping AGYW achieve economic independence.

Since January 2021, 230 AGYW have been successfully engaged in various stages of the Siyakha Girls pilot. These young women are benefiting immensely from the project interventions by strengthening their knowledge of GBV and HIV prevention and care, as well as improving their understanding of financial management. For many participants, Siyakha represents a life-changing opportunity. The project is directly enabling young women to improve their livelihoods and better their overall well-being.

Today, because of the vocational trainings she received under Siyakha, Lorena is completing her Siyakha internship and has plans to start her own business. She secured a loan and will receive project support to refine her business plan and use her new knowledge and technical skills. She also wants to help her parents profit from poultry farming. Lorena’s takeaway lesson from her Siyakha experience and her personal advice to other young women like herself is to always remember the following, “I can, it is possible, and I am capable!”

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