Jeanette: the story of a brave girl who raised her voice

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Meet Marie (right) and her brave daughter, Jeanette.

Marie’s mom passed away unexpectedly, and at the age of seven, she became the primary caretaker of her family. Going to school was no longer a priority, and she dropped out in first grade to help her father and younger siblings. Marie never had the opportunity to learn to read or write.

Jeanette, now twelve years old, graduated sixth grade at a Project Alianza-supported school on a large coffee farm in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. She was top in her class in math, and her dreams were higher than her grades.

When she graduated, her father told her it was time she started picking coffee to raise money and help support the family. Like her mother before her and over 200,000 girls in Nicaragua, this looked like it would be the end of her education. 

But Jeanette refused. She came to Project Alianza and talked with Amalia, the Alianza mentor at her school. She explained that her father was asking her to work instead of continuing with school. Amalia encouraged her to tell her family what she wanted – to stay in school and continue to learn. Jeanette raised her voice, and spoke with her family, and we learned Jeanette’s father wanted her to continue to study, but he couldn't afford the fees or navigate the complex system.

After a few conversations with her family, we learned both her father and Marie supported Jeanette's dreams, but they lacked basic resources. They didn’t know how to enroll Jeanette in secondary school or where to buy a uniform.

Jeannette is not alone. Many families feel lost and powerless when facing the secondary school system, which is why we support girls through Katie’s Fund scholarship. The program allows girls to pursue their dreams of higher education.

Jeanette raised her voice. Jeanette had the courage to stand up for her dreams. Jeanette reminds us why it’s important to support girls’ dreams through education.

Because of her bravery, she is trailblazing a new reality for herself and other girls in her community. And we are there supporting her every step of the way. 

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