The story of Neema, as told to Kellen Msseemmaa, Empowered Girls program director in Tanzania.
Girls hold the lowest place in our society, which exposes us to domestic violence and makes us believe we’re not smart or beautiful enough.
When I read about Empowered Girls in the newspaper, I began attending Empowered Girls events and started a group at my school talking about issues that affect girls. This helped me become empowered.
Later my rights were violated, but I stood up for myself. Consequences were harsh: I was expelled from school and my father almost disowned me. But because of my actions, other girls were protected from suffering the same fate as me. A good Samaritan sponsored me to go to another school, and I am now safe to study and grow.
A song on the newest Empowered Girls CD says we need to be the change we desire to see in our families, communities and nation: we cannot stay quiet and watch as our sisters are violated.
We know we are valuable even as girls, and that we can lift up our communities from the darkness and poverty that we grew up with. Our society doesn’t teach us how to do this, but Empowered Girls does.
After I finish university, I plan to devote my career to advocating for girls’ and women’s rights.