Our first Students of the Week: Tchelalo and Tikeba!
We're excited to kick off our new practice of recognizing some of our members each week.
The Students of the Week are recognized for being outstanding students, excellent representatives of S H E, and role models for all girls in Togo. We think they're pretty special. Read their incredible stories below.
The first student of the week is Tchelalo!
Tchelalo was born in a small village in the northern part of Togo. She's the youngest in her family, but she's the most advanced in her education. She is in the first year of High School, though her older brothers and sisters only made it to the last year of Junior High.
Her father died in 2010 from a very serious illness, so her mother has been left to care for Tchelalo and her 5 siblings.
To help make things easier for her mother, she gets up early in the morning to clean the house and her compound, fetch water from the well, and clean the dishes. Before going to school she has to also make herself a small meal or she goes hungry all day because her mother cannot afford to send her with money for lunch.
Her mother works in the fields so she can have something for her children to eat, but she has to work until late at night. Tchelalo rushes home after to school to prepare dinner for her siblings.
On the weekends, she helps a local beverage server where she earns a total of $2 USD. She saves this money to afford her school documents, and sometimes is able to save enough for a treat! She's stunning, and we couldn't be more proud that she's in the program.
Our second incredible student is Tikeba.
I'm 12 years old, and have one younger sister who is 6 years old. I'm in the first year of Junior High, and my little sister just started school. My mother sells dry fish at the market, and my father is a motorcycle taxi driver.
Since I'm so young, does mother does almost all of the work at home to allow us the freedom to be children and continue our studies. I have to be up early on the weekends to help with house chores, and after school I go with my mother to work in the field to gather wood for our kitchen.
My father comes back very late because he has another wife in the village with whom he has 4 children, so most of our finances and responsibilities fall on my mother.
On Saturdays, my mom and I sell tomatoes and chilis in the market after we've worked in the fields. It is hard for my mother to provide for our needs alone, so she has a small garden where she grows vegetables to sell, to feed us, provide our clothing and our textbooks.
My mother is a strong and courageous mother. She is my role model.