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the girl who can’t be stopped

Sabina smiles in her home, as her family looks on in the distance.

One of the first times we met Sabina and her family, in 2013.

When we first met Sabina, she was 16 and determined to succeed. Yet, she shared concerns about child marriage – a very real risk in a community where about 90% of girls are married before the age of 18, while only 7% of secondary students are female.

Thankfully, through your Community Sponsorship, and the support of her family, Sabina was able to defy the odds. Now 19, she’s not only continuing her education, she’s also taken part in local initiatives to uplift and inspire others.

A series of six portraits of Sabina from 2013 to 2016.

In just 3 years, Sabina’s grown into a remarkable leader (pictured here from 2013 at top left through 2016 at bottom right).

See for yourself how Sabina’s big accomplishments are transforming both her life and her community!

Media maven

As one of nearly 20 youth to receive media training with a focus on child rights, Sabina has been acquiring journalistic experience while also honing her activist skills. Especially interested in newspaper writing, she’s been keeping a pulse on important local issues, interviewing peers and expressing herself through the printed word.

Double panel: Sabina conducts a presentation and stands among a group of other youth participants and media teachers.

Sabina conducts a presentation (at left) and poses with her youth media club (front row, third from right)

Swimming for a safer way

Proof that hope floats, Sabina works as a disaster risk education instructor in her flood-prone community. Volunteering as a trainer, she leads swim lessons and helps execute mock drills to prepare her community for emergencies, empower families, prevent drowning and protect children.

Sabina stands in front of several adults, explaining a pamphlet she is holding.

Sabina (at right) leads a safe swim training activity.

Resident of change

Like many other girls in her community, Sabina used to have a long and dangerous commute to school. Thanks to your sponsorship, she is now one of over 50 girls staying at the girls’ dormitory with greater access to resources, like clean water and quality education – helping her focus on learning.

“I can easily attend my classes and communicate with my teacher, which was impossible earlier,” Sabina explains. “I had to come through a maze field where sexual harassments can take place, but now I am enjoying my student life and need not worry about safety and security.”

Double panel: Sabina walks with her younger sibling along tall grass at the water’s edge and sits at a desk amongst stacks of books smiling.

Sabina’s old commute to school (2013 photo at left) vs. her new study-friendly accommodations (present photo at right)

Champion of children’s rights

“Being a member of the Youth Network, I have participated in many events and have learned about child rights,” says Sabina.

As Vice President of the Children’s Organization and Secretary of the Youth Network, Sabina regularly facilitates and contributes to activities you help support like youth discussion reviews, local council planning meetings, educational theatre performances and child protection sessions – and it’s paying off.

Double panel: Sabina stands and instructs the group, and then sits in a circle among them.

Sabina leads a Youth Network meeting

“Parents were reluctant to send their children to school, but the scenario has changed since Community Sponsorship,” she explains. “People have become more aware of the importance of quality education and stopping child marriage” – a dramatic shift that her own parents have been a part of.

“It is hard for us to afford our children’s educational expenses; however, this opportunity [the girls’ dorm] made us optimistic,” shared Sabina’s mother. “Security for girls and their education is a big issue, but this brings hope. I support my daughter’s education. Many thanks to the sponsors for such a nice project.”

A generation for gender equality

Sabina has been excelling in her studies, and has almost completed her secondary schooling. Reaching this point in her educational career has meant a lot to Sabina, but it’s been of special importance to her father. “I did not get the opportunity to study, but am glad that Community Sponsorship makes people aware about children’s education. Education reduces child marriage radically.”

Surpassing her father’s educational experience and garnering his support has been a big accomplishment in a traditionally patriarchal society. Sabina’s shown there can be another way for girls – one that’s rich with bright spots and benefits – and it isn’t going unnoticed.

“Like other parts of the world, there exists a difference between girls and boys here. But now both the girls and boys get equal education,” Sabina says with a smile.

And now that she’s paved the way, her parents are committed to ensuring her siblings can follow suit. “We are thankful to sponsors for helping Sabina,” says her father. “My other children have been continuing their studies and I will try my best to support them.”

Sabina sits with her two younger siblings, smiling and helping them read their books.

Sabina helps her younger sister and brother with their homework.

In the past few years, Sabina hasn’t only overcome barriers – she’s capitalized on every opportunity extended through your support, exceeding all expectations. Today, she emphasizes the “warmness of the community people,” her “wish that all children will find equal opportunity for education,” and a desire to teach and support struggling families, as well as her own.

“My daughter Sabina is more aware than others about child rights, continuing education and overall development,” says her father with pride. “She is involved in the community. Her confidence has increased and it is recognized by all” – including herself.

“I did not know the issues related to child rights and participation. Now I am confident and happy to know about myself and my surroundings,” she reflects. “I could have ended up as a married girl living with her husband and not continuing education. But today, I am completing my studies.”

Sabina intently performs schoolwork while sitting at a desk.

Sabina’s proved that no obstacle can keep her from achieving her goals. Now, her future is open and full of possibility.

We can’t wait to see what’s next for Sabina, but with community change carving a clear path ahead, one thing’s for sure: the sky’s the limit for this girl, and nothing can stop her now.

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