One student leader shows how education can open doors to her dreams

One student leader shows how education can open doors to her dreams

Sixteen-year-old Umu is an earnest young lady with bright dreams for her future. Though she faced both financial hardship and a 7.5-mile walk to school each day from her home in rural Mali, Umu ranked second academically in her class and has risen as a young student leader.

Her family’s limited resources made it difficult to attend school, and, for a while, Umu’s future was not so bright.  Just as she was preparing to advance to grade 6, she learned that her middle grade school would be too far for her to travel to, and, with no transportation, she stopped attending school soon after.

She never gave up hope, though, and, CARE Mali’s Development Education for Girls’ Empowerment (DEGE) presented an exciting opportunity for Umu.  Once she and her family learned about DEGE’s vocational training opportunities, Umu was soon enrolled. Now, after three years with DEGE, Umu’s supportive learning environment and exposure to several professions to choose from has helped her and marginalized youths like her continue their education. 

Umu has blossomed into a leader and is well-respected by her classmates for both her serious engagement and her work.  For three consecutive years, she was elected by her peers to be the Prime Minister of Education, the head of the student governing organization. 

After completing the program, Umu dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and transformateur, a career that involves transforming foods into different forms for easier and better consumption, and, of owning her own storefront and equipment, putting her education to work for her for years to come.

Education in Mali helping girls fight poverty