Miatta seems like any 16 year old in Liberia, with a passion for music, dancing and fashion. But her life has not been easy.
A few years ago, an uncle took Miatta to live in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city, with the promise of a better education. But instead of enrolling her in school, the uncle forced her to sell snacks and fruits in the street. She wanted to go to school, but every time she asked or refused to work, her uncle gave her no food to eat at home.
But Miatta kept asking every day. Exhausted and irritated by her constant requests, Miatta’s uncle forced her out of the house – throwing her onto the streets of a big, bustling city.
Fortunately, Miatta was able to find shelter for a few weeks with a friend and managed to return to her home in Totoquelley. She soon went back to school, and is now Miatta is proudly in the fourth grade.
Back in her home town, Miatta heard about an adolescent empowerment program in her community and signed up. The program has taught her to be confident, and she is teaching those in the program, too. She tells other youth not to compromise their education for anything and never to consider themselves too old for education.
The program, which is implemented by UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, ILA with the support of Girl Up, is helping hundreds of girls like Miatta to have a second chance.
As Miatta said, “With the support of this program, I am beginning to feel that maybe I can become what I want to be, a teacher in a college.”