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My Sponsors Helped Me Finish School

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Education

In many African countries like Mozambique, girls and young women are responsible for taking care of their family’s needs, including collecting water, searching for food and looking after their younger siblings and elderly relatives. Often in traditional communities, it’s thought that girls do not need to go to school as they are destined to become wives and mothers. For girls, these social norms often lead to school dropouts, early marriage and teenage pregnancy.

After the sudden death of her mother, Maria became the primary carer in her household. Tragically, just three months later, her sister also died so Maria had to drop out of school to look after her late sister’s son who was just three-years-old.

“It was hard to juggle between going to school and looking after my family when my mother and sister passed away because school did not seem like a priority. I also did not want to put pressure on my father financially with the purchase of my school supplies, so I told him I would drop out to help at home. This was when my father reached out to Plan International to see if they could help us,” explains Maria who lives in Inhambane province.

Maria, 19, had to drop out of school after her mother and sister died.

Maria’s father, Julio, was one of the construction workers who helped build a school funded through Plan International’s sponsorship programme. Desperate to ensure his daughter finished her education, Julio reached out to a Plan International community worker who agreed to enroll Maria onto the organisation’s sponsorship programme.

“My daughter was still a child, she is very intelligent and I did not want her to suffer because of our situation. Through the programme, Maria received schoolbooks, stationery and letters from her sponsors who encouraged her. This is how she was able to finish school,” says Julio.

After finishing secondary school, Maria decided to continue her education and is now studying at technical college. “I am very happy that I finished school and I have already enrolled in an academy in the city so I can become better qualified for work. If I was unable to get help from my sponsors, I would have already quit school,” says Maria who is now 19.

Plan International’s sponsorship programme is ensuring that girls in Mozambique are able to complete their studies. We aim to expand our sponsorship network in the country so that more girls like Maria are able to access valuable education and training opportunities so they can fulfill their true potential.