Rays of Hope-Transforming Story of Celestine Aswani

Twenty-three-year-old Celestine Aswani calmly narrates how she got pregnant after completing high school. Her parents did not have enough money to send her to college, so she connected with a local tailor who was willing to train her in tailoring and garment making. However, she did not complete the training.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when schools were closed, she met a university student who became her boyfriend. After a few months, she became pregnant. Unfortunately, her joy was short-lived. “He told me that my education level was too low and that he could not take me as his wife. I was very disappointed and regretted meeting him. Life became miserable as I had to provide for my baby. I lived a sad life and hated everything,” she said.

In October 2023, Celestine heard about CARE Kenya’s Beiersdorf project, which was targeting young girls like her. She attended a YSLA training and requested to join the group. She was trained and enrolled in the Maendeleo Youth Group, which meets weekly at the Eshinamwenyuli Health Center in Kakamega County. She claims that the project has rekindled her hope. She has already saved KES 1,800 in her YSLA group. In addition, she has been taking loans to buy materials for garment making, earning a profit of at least KES 200 per garment. This money helps her take care of her child, buy personal items, and save in the YSLA.

Due to her commitment to the VSLA group and her passion for educating other girls on sexual reproductive health issues, Celestine was selected and trained as an SRH Youth Champion. She has also been selected to join a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institution for a short course in garment making.

With support from the Beiersdorf project, Celestine believes there is hope to change her situation and help other girls in the village. Her goal is to buy a sewing machine with her YSLA savings. She also aims to raise awareness about SRH among other girls, using her own experience as an example. She says that the skill training at TVET will enable her to make all types of garments, as she can currently only make simple ones. Her dream is to train more girls in tailoring and create employment opportunities for them.

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