Last week, I shared a story and photo of Everlyne on Facebook. It's not the type of image we usually share; Everlyne has a heavy sadness to her. You might say she looks defeated. You can see it here.
Despite achieving one of the highest test scores in our eighth grade class, Everlyne's family couldn't afford to send her to high school. Overnight, Everlyne's dreams of becoming a nurse were dashed, and the fun and funny student we knew was replaced by a much older, wearier expression.
This story bothered you, as it did us, and in a matter of hours, we raised thousands of dollars to send Everlyne to high school. This weekend we helped her buy her uniform, her mattress, and her text books. Donors sent messages of encouragement and inspiration via social media and we shared them with Everlyne, who was keen to soak up every bit of support she could before embarking on this big and daunting adventure.
Going to high school is scary, but not going to high school is much scarier. I've never really used the term "empowered" as it relates to girls, it feels full of assumptions. But this week I think the term fits: Everlyne empowered me to move to action, and she empowered all of you to help us move the barriers to her education.
If you don't follow us on Facebook, you should and can by clicking here. And if you too want to be empowered by a girl at Flying Kites, you can sponsor her here.
Happy International Women's Day,
a day late.
Because I'm a girl and I do what I want.
Leila de Bruyne