When she was 16 years old, Advina Mwamedi had to drop out of school after finding out she was pregnant, hence prematurely halting her education. In addition, when she talked to her family and community about her pregnancy, she initially encountered rejection, disappointment and anger from her relatives.
Nevertheless, after she gave birth, Advina convinced her parents to give her a second chance and try to find a school that would allow her to continue her studies. At the time, it was not easy for her to return to formal education, as the opportunities were limited for young women who had dropped out of school for various reasons. In this regard, the latest news is that the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) announced that all girls and young women that dropped out of school for various reasons will be allowed to re-enter or continue their primary or secondary education. This is very positive as young Tanzanian women will now have the choice to continue their studies in formal schools.
However, without the same possibilities then, Advina had to look for an alternative pathway. When her parents found out about the FDC in Katumba, Advina worked hard to show them that continuing her studies was her aspiration.
Eventually, Advina joined the Katumba FDC and attended the Elimu Haina Mwisho Skills Development Programme, implemented by Karibu Tanzania Organisation (KTO) in partnership with Aflatoun International and funded by the Mastercard Foundation. The Elimu Haina Mwisho programme, which was concluded in 2021, empowered over 1,200 young women by offering courses focusing on social rehabilitation, skill-building and short-term internships. As a result, women gained the necessary skills to become either formally or self-employed or to be prepared to further their education. The programme also sought to raise awareness about the difficulties that many young women and girls encounter in Tanzania, and it worked towards changing societal attitudes and behaviour.
Advina performed exceptionally well during the programme and passed her exams with good marks. Consequently, she gained the trust of her father and of her community back.
Now, Advina says she is really good at tailoring, and she feels accepted again by her parents and the community that had once judged her. Thanks to the Elimu Haina Mwisho programme and her resilience, Advina could reconnect with her family, gain their support and keep learning, in order to build a promising future for herself and her child.
Watch and listen to Advina’s story and don’t miss out on the next powerful story of empowerment, on December 9, 2021 at 12:00pm CET.