Tweets Help a Young Woman Return to School

Reporting by ChildFund Ethiopia

When Mekdes was just 3 years old, her father passed away and her mother was unable to take care of her daughter on her own. So Mekdes went to live with her grandmother in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopian teen

Mekdes at home in Addis Ababa.

Today, 14 years later, Mekdes should be enrolled in grade 10 at Ketchene Secondary School, but times have been tough in recent years.

Mekdes was making good grades and enjoying her classes. Then her grandmother lost her job—their only source of income. Mekdes was forced to drop out of school and start working before she completed the national high school leaving examination that would open the door to advanced education.

Fighting back tears, she explains her situation: “We have no income at this time for our living. We have no one to help us. Our lives [have] become strange and gloomy. We are passing the day without food and go to bed with hunger.”

Since dropping out of school, Mekdes worked as a hairdresser and a day laborer for a small company, but her real dream is to finish school and become a doctor.

Thanks to ChildFund’s International Women’s Day Twitter campaign, that dream now has a better chance of becoming reality.

In March, we asked our Twitter followers to post 200 tweets and retweets focused on girls and women during a four-day time period culminating on International Women’s Day. As an incentive for the awareness-building campaign, we would honor our Twitter followers by awarding a one-year scholarship to a deserving Ethiopian girl (one of the items available in ChildFund’s Gifts of Love & Hope catalog).

ChildFund’s Twitter followers surpassed the goal, unleashing 275 tweets like: “Secure girls = strong women,” and “Being a student makes a girl unavailable for marriage.”

Mekdes is the recipient of the scholarship gift. She plans to work during the day and take evening classes so that she can complete her secondary education.

“Now with the help I got from ChildFund, I will start to train in hair dressing and make money,” she says of her near-term goals. “For me, ChildFund is my life. My grandmom is also so happy with the chance I got. She cried first when she heard the news, delighted with the hope we get from ChildFund.”

Thank you, ChildFund Tweeps!

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