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Turning tragedy into triumph

POSTED October 24, 2023

Turning tragedy into triumph

I had difficult living conditions with my mother, who was ill and had no financial means to pay my school fees.

By Fanta Konde and Assetou Zalle

Turning tragedy into triumph

I was a victim of rape during the security crisis in my community,” says Mounia, a young woman in central- to protect her identity. “(Because of the attack) I was left out of school and marginalized by those around me.”

Even before the attack, Mounia’s impoverished family had been hit by one tragedy after another. Mounia’s father had died two years earlier, and her mother couldn’t provide for the family due to being partially paralyzed.

“I had difficult living conditions with my mother, who was ill and had no financial means to pay my school fees,” Mounia recalls.

Things continued to turn for the worse for Mounia and her mother. They were forced to flee their home because of the worsening conflict in the region, and it was on their journey Mounia was raped. Eventually, they ended up at a camp for displaced people with a very uncertain future. It was a time of darkness and despair.

Hopeful new beginnings

But she didn’t give up. Mounia was determined to be more than a statistic. About a month after settling into the camp, she finally found a glimmer of hope through the helping hand of a social worker from a Children Believe program.

That was when Mounia chose to participate in a program she desperately needed so that she could begin to heal emotionally from being forced from her home and raped. The program, part of a partnership between UNICEF and Children Believe, provided mental young women who suffer similar ordeals. Health and psychosocial support services to thousands of displaced people in north Burkina Faso. Because of donors like you, Mounia and many like her, had the choice to receive school fees and food supplies to help them get their lives back on track.

Four years later, Mounia continues to raise her much-loved daughter (born as a result of the rape) while pursuing a higher education. After completing the schooling needed, she entered university, where she is in her first year of psychology and psychosocial intervention. After her daughter, this new career opportunity is her main passion so that she can help other young women who suffered from similar acts of violence.

“I want to specialize in psychology in order to provide solutions to these crimes,” she says. “I want to one day become a humanitarian aid worker who will be responsible for taking care of people who have been subjected to gender based violence.”

There are more young women like Mounia in search of this help, but thankfully Mounia can pursue her life ambition both inside and outside the classroom. Beyond her studies, she is already becoming a community leader, working for an association that integrates youth into a local support center. And this industrious young mother and student hasn’t stopped there. She also makes and sells liquid soap in her neighborhood to help earn income for her and her family.

You can make a difference and empower girls just like Mounia by supporting the Girls Like Me Fund today. Your contribution will empower girls with access to education, give girls equal access to opportunities and resources, and help them stay in school so they can break the cycle of inequality and injustice. Your gift holds the power to spread hope and effect positive change. Believe that change can happen.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

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