Part of life for many people living in Nairobi’s urban neighborhoods is fetching water. Often, there is a single standpipe for dozens of families where people line up with their jerrycans.
Julie is 12 years old. For her, that daily chore makes life harder. “When you go to fetch water, there are people who sit around and abuse others,” she says.
Fortunately, Julie is part of Convoy of Hope’s Girls’ Empowerment program, which helps girls learn about life skills and nutrition so that they can thrive. On a recent Thursday afternoon, the classroom erupted in cheer when the Convoy of Hope teacher, Favour, entered. It was a large room split in two by a paperboard partition — the sixth graders faced west and the fourth graders faced east. Favour led the older students in a game that had them howling with laughter. Then, they reviewed what they’d learned from the previous session on time management: Have a timetable. Avoid the bed and sofa because they make you lazy. Make deadlines. Don’t let work pile up. Set goals.
The lessons from the program help students like Julie cope with difficult environments. While she lives with both parents in a safe apartment building and goes to a good school, her environment still can be tough. She says something she has learned from Girls’ Empowerment is the importance of keeping good company and avoiding bad company. This is a helpful lesson at the standpipe, at school, and everywhere else she might go in life.