Our Sydney scholars Sharon and Linet will begin their studies at UTS and WSU in June.
These stories below were written by Sharon Tiyo and Linet Momposhi, two of the three young women supported by Women for Change with university scholarships in Sydney.
Sharon’s Story – Sydney scholar
My name is Sharon Tiyo and I am 18. I come from a polygamous family of 26 children, six of whom are boys and the rest are girls. My mother is the first wife of four married to my father and I am the eighth born of my mother’s nine daughters. Coming from a very traditional Maasai family, where girls are of less value than boys, my siblings and I found it challenging to access basic needs including education.
However, that changed for me when I joined Kakenya Center for Excellence in 2009 where I studied from class 4 to class 8 and then attended a national high school. In November 2017, I sat for my national high school examination. I performed very well and was the top girl at Kakenya Center for Excellence.
This allows me to undertake my dream course of Medical Science at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and become a pharmacist in the future. Thanks to the scholarship I have received with the support of Women for Change and The LBW Trust, I feel so fortunate and I know my scholarship will transform my life. It will also impact my community in the future because I will be able to help them get access to medication and better health services.
Linet’s Story – Sydney scholar
My name is Linet Momposhi and I am 19. I am the third born out of six children and I come from the Maasai community where some of the challenges girls face includes female genital mutilation (FGM) and early or forced marriages. However, I was fortunate through my education at the Kakenya Center for Excellence not to undergo these harmful cultural practices. As a result, I have been championing against these demeaning cultural practices in my community.
In 2015, my entire family was attacked by some of the women in my community who still value FGM. They attacked my home because I had reported them to my school for continuing to circumcise girls. Their act resulted to me running away from home and I stayed with my primary school English teacher at Kakenya Center for Excellence until the matter was settled.
I joined Kakenya Center for Excellence in 2009 in class four and was among the pioneer group of girls. This is where I started having hope for a bright future and that I could one day become an educated woman in my society. I received all the support I needed including finance for my education and buying of all my school personal effects. This encouraged me to work hard in school and I performed well in my national high school examination. When the examination results were released I emerged as the second best girl at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. This meant that I had qualified for a scholarship to pursue my undergraduate degree in Australia. To further my education abroad is a dream come true for me! This makes me very happy because I know that now my dream of become a qualified, independent woman will finally be realised.
Once I am done with my studies in Australia, I will come home and give back to my community and country, by helping the needy especially young girls. Because someone else believed in me and gave me an opportunity of a lifetime, I would like the girls in my community to know that they too can achieve their dreams by working hard and putting aside harmful cultural practices.
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