Teen Girls Club Leaves No Girl Behind: Salamatu’s Story

By: Victoria Yamson, Program Coordinator

Salamatu smiling and excited to go to senior high school.

The Self-Help International Teen Girls Club tries to ensure as many Ghanaian girls as possible stay in school longer as a means of breaking the poverty cycle in rural communities. Girls from primary schools to junior highs are educated on girls’ and reproductive health issues; provided livelihood skills training; and given extra tuition to improve their English reading and writing skills.

Since its inception in 2016, 31 Basic Education Certification Examination (the main exam to qualify students for secondary and vocational schools) candidates from the Teen Girls Club have gained admission to various secondary schools. Many of these girls couldn’t have without the program.

Salamatu is a member of the Beposo Teen Girls Club.  In her final year of junior high, she became pregnant to the disappointment of many in her community.  For a rural girl in Ghana, pregnancy typically means the end of the road for the girl’s dream of going up the academic ladder.

Salamatu’s family was devastated and didn’t know what to do.

Self-Help stood by the family and encouraged Salamatu to focus on her upcoming exams. Thankfully, she passed her exams and was admitted to one of the most prestigious secondary schools in the region, Nkawie Technical Senior High School.

She delivered a baby girl a few months before the new school year, and she was caught in a dilemma: go to school or stay at home and care for her baby?

Many people from rural communities in Ghana believe that ending a girl’s education early will deter other girls from getting pregnant, but this belief goes against the objective of the Teen Girls Club to help girls stay in school.  The Teen Girls Club encouraged Salamatu to go to secondary school.

Salamatu’s mother and Salamatu’s baby daughter.

Salamatu’s mother, who is also part of the Self-Help micro-credit program,  said, “I am paying dearly for not going to school and I won’t let this happen to my daughter.  I will take care of her baby so she can continue her education and accomplish her dreams.”

Salamatu is studying Home Economics with the hope of becoming a nurse in future.

“I thank you and the Teen Girls Club for standing by me.  I will not let you down,” Salamatu said.

It is challenging for Salamatu to focus on her studies and think about her baby, but Self-Help will provide her the needed support and encouragement to make sure she succeeds. Periodically, Self-Help gives her information about how her baby is doing and the wonderful care Salamatu’s mother is providing.