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Monica, the aspiring accountant

September 22nd, 2022

Monica (16 years old) lived a normal life. She would complete her chores and meet with her friends thereafter. On one fateful evening, she met a man who promised to take care of all her needs. She ended up being sexually exploited. We were able to provide her with counselling and psychological support. We also supported her with her education needs and provided her with a dignity pack. She is now back in school concentrating on her studies.

Family life

Monicah, her four siblings, and parents live in Kwale county, Kenya. When she was eight years old, her father moved to a nearby town in search of greener pastures, and her mother followed him two months later. Monicah and her siblings were left under the care of their paternal grandmother in their rural home in Kilifi county. Luckily, her father got a good job and was financially supporting the family. Unfortunately, when her parents separated in 2016, everything changed for the worse. At the time, Monica was in class four and had been enrolled in a nearby primary school. "I felt so sad since I loved my father so much," Monicah stated.

School life

Things got worse when her father died a few months later. Monica moved in with her mother in Ukunda, where she enrolled at a nearby primary school and completed school in 2020. When the exam results came out, she had performed well beyond everyone's expectations. Her mother, the family's provider, could not be happier. She did everything she could to enrol her daughter in secondary school. Her school attendance became irregular as she was constantly sent home for school fees.

Exploited at a young age

During school holidays, Monica could wake up at 8:00 am, do household chores, clean the house, and wash clothes. Thereafter, she could meet her friends in the afternoon, have lunch, and go for a walk. She was not in a position to get personal items like sanitary towels, inner wears, lotions and perfumes while her friends would frequently brag about what they had. She felt sad and hopeless. One evening, she met a man (in his early thirties) who promised to take care of all her needs. After several meetings, the man would give her about 5 euros weekly to meet her personal needs in exchange for sex. For several months, Monica was sexually exploited by this man, and she ended up dropping  out of school.

A Way out

Fortunately, the area child protection committee member identified Monica. Together with the child protection volunteer and the social workers, they visited Monica's home to further assess her situation. The team conducted a needs assessment exercise and established that she needed psychological support to help her heal from the pain of being sexually exploited and the aftermath of her parents’ separation. Two months later, Monica received educational support in the form of school fees, scholastic materials, and a dignity pack from the Building a Future project.

Life ambitions

Through the continuous support from the project, Monica managed to enrol at a nearby boarding school in April 2021. Currently, Monica is in form four, her self-esteem is boosted and regularly attends school. After classes, she attends group discussions, does personal reading of books and general revision. "I have now fully settled in school to concentrate on my studies and I am no longer sent home for school fees. I am working hard to achieve my goals,’ Monica said.

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