Building a Bridge to Employment

Date: 2019 Description: Zambia: Abigail and Hope Nsokolo studying their new trade in Zambia. © PEPFAR Image
Abigail and Hope Nsokolo studying their new trade in Zambia.

Sisters Abigail (19) and Hope Nsokolo (24) remember how tough their lives were when their father died in 2004. Their family was plunged into poverty and the girls were forced to help fill the financial void by plaiting hair, selling sweets, and accompanying their mother to the market to sell vegetables. Hope became pregnant at 14, and her dreams of finishing her education began to fade.

Through their mother’s determination to see her daughters succeed and their own creativity and resourcefulness in earning money, both Abigail and Hope managed to complete their high school education. In 2016, the sisters were enrolled in DREAMS where they were assigned a ‘Safe Space’ and a mentor. They meet weekly with a group of 25 girls, following a tailored curriculum on topics such as self-esteem, negotia­tion skills, HIV prevention, and financial literacy.

DREAMS has so tangibly impacted the two sisters that they were invited to become mentors themselves. The monthly allowance given to mentors was a financial boost that moti­vated them to further their education. In January 2017, both were awarded scholarships to study heavy equipment repair, a certificate which could lead to employment in the mining, agriculture, or transport sectors. Abigail and Hope are proud to be outperforming many of their male peers in class and succeeding in what is typically a male-dominated field.