Mariatu always wanted to be a lawyer. But when she was just 12 years old, her mother died and her father moved away. Without her parents, Mariatu couldn’t afford her school fees and was forced to leave school and live with her sister in a small rented room. Feeling helpless and without hope of returning to school, Mariatu’s dreams slipped away.
“I didn’t go to school for four years and I felt very bad. When I’d see girls my age in their school uniforms leaving their homes in the morning, I used to sit down and cry.”
Mariatu knew that without an education she had limited options and an uncertain future.
But when One Girl’s team visited her community in rural Sierra Leone, they knew they wanted to help Mariatu return to school.
“The first day I put on my uniform I was very happy. I was thinking that if my mother was still alive and could see me, she’d be proud.”
In just two years Mariatu will graduate high school and she has big plans – not just for herself, but for her entire community.
“I want to do well in school and become somebody. I see how so many people in my community struggle and I think if I can manage to have a good job and make money, I’ll use it to help them.”
And that’s the reason why we put on a school dress. Because when we raise funds for girls’ education – we’re creating change that won’t just transform an individual life, it will continue to benefit communities for generations to come.