For many years, Melanie was so determined to complete her education that she would walk a long distance every day, often on an empty stomach, to reach her classes. But, when she was in Grade 7, Melanie’s father died unexpectedly, leaving her no choice but to quit school to help her mother support their family.
When the RAISE project arrived in Melanie’s community, however, her fortune took a turn for the better. Melanie was offered financial support to help her return to school, where she has become a leader and role model for others. Melanie told us, “I use my experience as a former drop out student who came back to school as an inspiration. Now I stand out and use my voice to spread good intentions. With my past experiences, I am more than willing to participate and advocate for girls’ gender equality to achieve a better quality of life.”
Now an active Youth Peer Educator in Grade 10, Melanie helps to advocate for the rights of other girls like her, working with them to reduce the risks of dropping out, teenage pregnancy, and other issues that prevent young girls in her community from completing their education. It was the RAISE and RAISE Higher project, she tells us, that really “changed her life,” giving her the support she needed when her future was most at risk.
As Melanie’s teachers told us, “From being an out-of-school youth, she has transformed into a leader both in school and in her community. She has become a good role model and an inspiration to the students, especially to girls at risk of dropping out. She has been instrumental in leading a group of students to actively conduct Youth Peer Education activities in the school. Her teachers laud her leadership in helping the school in the dramatic decrease of teenage-pregnancy related drop-outs.”
Changing just one life for the better is an incredible gift. Changing one life that has a ripple effect to change countless more is how we, together, change the world. Thank you to Dubai Cares for being part of this incredible transformation.