LAURINE'S STORY


Laurine Awuor

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 A rejuvenated thirst for education

In Kenya, one in four girls gets married before the age of 18. This is according to Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) 2014 with the prevalence of early childbearing being highest in Nyanza.

Laurine Awuor is a 23 year old, DREAMS Innovation Challenge beneficiary who hails from Kasule, an informal settlement in Kisumu County. She got married at a tender age of 16.

She recalls the struggle she went through in marriage. Happiness was a choice. She can vividly count the number of days she was happy as a woman of the house.

Laurine’s life took a drastic turn in the year 2002 when her father died and her mother had to remarry. Life with her step father was never easy. The step father never bothered about her schooling. She had to drop out of school as parental support was never there. When things heated up she could not withstand it anymore, she decided to go and live with her grandmother. Life there had its challenges too.

She later on decided to go and get married because she thought her life would change to the better.

In her marriage Laurine got two children. She was happy to have two boys with the man she wanted to spend her entire life with. She never thought their love for each other would fade. As days went by, her husband become abusive, he would beat her up, wire vulgar insults to her.  He would constantly tell her to go and get educated like other girls. “My husband would come home in the evening from work empty handed and whenever I asked him for cash to buy meals he would remind me of how uneducated I was.” Said Laurine in a sorrow face. “My sons and I went several nights without meals, even porridge for my two sons was by chance.” She added.

When it was too much for her to bear, she decided to go back to her parents’ home with her children and tried living under the same roof with her step father but it was cumbersome for her. As a mother, she saw it fit for her children to stay with their father as they would be more comfortable there, so she did so. She later came back to her parents’ home in Kasule.

One day, a Field Assistant (FA) from NIGEE went to their home and had a chat with her. The FA took her through some of the programs NIGEE runs. Laurine got interested in joining the Girls Empowerment Centre (GEC).  She was admitted into Dressmaking and design class.

While at the GEC, Laurine thirst for education rejuvenated. She interacted more with learned young women who come over time to time to coach them on career choice, job keeping, job interview skills; and life skills training. The flashback on her marriage struggles also made her desire to learn to be a self-reliant woman in future. “Whenever I thought of life I went through I get motivated to thrive for a better future, a future where I would not depend on someone for help, a future where I can make my own decision , a future where I can fund my own bills , a future where I will not depend on a man to be happy.” Said Laurine in a somber mood.

“The only way for me to realize this dream for the future is through education and that is why I decided to go back to school. “ She added.

 “Whenever I thought of life I went through I get motivated to thrive for a better future, a future where I would not depend on someone for help, a future where I can make my own decision , a future where I can fund my own bills , a future where I will not depend on a man to be happy.” Said Laurine.

Laurine registered as a private candidate for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (K.C.P.E) at Nyamasaria Adult Learning Centre in Kisumu. Whenever she was not attending her Dressmaking and design classes at the GEC, she will be at Nyamaria for coaching or revising for her exams.  

She took her classes seriously. Despite staying out of school for over 7 years she grasped the subjects pretty quick. She sat for her exams this year and managed to score 283 marks out of the possible 500 marks.

Laurine hope to join form one next year and her dream is to become a celebrated fashion designer in future.

She has also completed her dressmaking and design course awaiting graduation in December. Her apt skills in sewing have earned her customers who mostly send orders for shopping bags. With the ban of plastic bags, Laurine has made good fortune from making the shopping bags. She uses parts of the income to sustain her stay at the GEC and saving partly for her admission into form one next year, January.

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logologoNyanza Initiative for Girls' Education & Empowerment is an organisation that envisions a society and a future of self-determining and self-reliant girls and women.

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