Redefining Motherhood: Meet Halima

Written by Rosenell Nyakinyua, CFK Africa Funzo Project Officer

Halima* is redefining what it looks like to be a young mother in her community.

From a young age, Halima connected education with opportunity. After her father’s passing, Halima’s mother was left to raise her seven children as a single parent. Her family relies on her mother’s wages from working in a quarry and doing subsistence farming. Though the work is difficult and hours are long, it is often hard for her family to make ends meet.

When Halima was 16, she became pregnant. Already facing financial struggles, a pregnancy added to the family burden. Halima worried that her pregnancy disappointed her mother and siblings. She hoped to return to school after giving birth, but her brothers recommended she take a tailoring course instead.

CFK Africa’s Funzo project supports teenage mothers with holistic interventions (Photo credit: CFK Africa).

Yet Halima was determined to achieve her secondary school education. She didn’t want to be limited in her future opportunity.

As the months passed, Halima was beginning to despair that her chances of re-enrolling in school were dwindling. It didn’t seem like her family would be able to obtain the funds needed for Halima to attend secondary school. Her older brother was paying off a motorbike loan necessary for transportation, and her mother was planning to take on a third job to afford the family’s basic necessities.

Then, her village elders announced a project that would assist teenage mothers with re-enrolling in secondary school. The Chief and a local Community Health Promoter connected Halima with CFK Africa’s Funzo Project, which offers holistic and broad-reaching support for young mothers to continue in their secondary school studies. After a home visit with CFK Africa, she enrolled in the project in 2023.

She told CFK Africa that her life has been transformed by re-enrolling in school. “‘I work hard in school to change the situation at home,” Halima said. “If it wasn’t for [CFK Africa] I would be looking for casual labor. Now, I go to school and spend my time studying.”

CFK Africa’s Funzo Project Officer leads a safe spaces session (Photo credit: CFK Africa).

Halima’s favorite aspect of the Funzo project is the monthly safe space sessions. “I love the safe spaces sessions that we participate in. They are forums where we feel safe and get a sense of belonging. I know a brighter future awaits. I am determined to work very hard, and I am getting all the necessary support I need from my mother and brothers to support me in this journey.” Her mother is able to care for her child while Halima pursues her dream of getting an education.

“I would urge my younger sisters and peers to study hard and give their all in their education. I am also very appreciative of CFK Africa for enrolling me [in] school and I wish to make you all proud.’’

* Halima (not her real name) agreed to be interviewed on her experience. To protect her privacy, her name has been changed.

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