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Meet the girls and women

Meet Ya Marie

Ya Marie spoke about girls' rights at the UN.

Two years ago, Ya Marie, a teenage girl in Sierra Leone, was forced to leave school because of gender-based violence. With her education halted and few opportunities before her, Ya Marie had little hope of escaping a life of poverty. But thanks to your support, she got a second chance when she enrolled in one of our programs.

After joining Plan’s Village Savings and Loans Youth Group in her village, Ya Marie developed her confidence and leadership skills, inspiring her to speak out in support of girls’ rights and against the type of violence she experienced. A passionate and articulate advocate, she was chosen to represent Plan at a UN meeting on women’s rights this past March in New York City.

“This was my first experience outside my country,” she says. “My mom and sister were so proud. It gives me hope to continue to believe in myself and stand up for girls’ rights.”

Today, Ya Marie is back home doing community work with girls who have left school, and has plans to continue her own education.

“I want to become a great woman and advocate for women and girls’ rights,” she says, beaming with confidence.

Return to the Because I am a girl project