Why We #FundEducation: Meet AGE Africa Scholar, Cecelia
by Claudia Gonzalez, AGE Africa
At sixteen years old, Cecelia, a young woman from Chiunda Village in Malawi, has already confronted countless barriers to receiving her education.
As early as primary school, Cecelia remembers watching her friends drop out – a fate that is all too common in the country of Malawi, where less than 6% of women hold a high school diploma. Throughout her adolescence, she has seen firsthand the problems of early marriage. One in every two girls nationwide is married or raising children by the age of 18. In Cecelia’s opinion, “Most of the violence in my village is due to women relying solely on the provision of their husband, and this renders them vulnerable.”
Despite the stark disparities that exist, Cecelia is determined to graduate from high school and pursue a nursing degree, so she can be self-reliant. Her parents, rural subsistence farmers, work hard to support her and her four siblings who are all in school. Her mother does piecework for additional income, but Cecelia says her main challenge is the lack of food at home, as well as the cost of tuition and school supplies.
“Getting an [AGE Africa] scholarship is a blessing… I can stop stressing about whether I will be chased from school for owing school fees. It has helped me focus on my education…”
Cecelia is one of AGE Africa’s 200 scholarship recipients. However, there are millions of other talented and disadvantaged young women like her who never have the opportunity to finish school. For girls like Cecelia, it is critical that we #FundEducation. By providing young women with the resources they need to stay in school, we ensure they are equipped with the knowledge, tools, and self-confidence they need to succeed!
Claudia Gonzalez is Development Assistant at AGE Africa and a senior at American University.