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LONDON—When Adelaide Tsogo Masenya was six, she switched primary schools. Her local school, Dr Knak Primary School, in the poor Johannesburg township of Alexandra, only taught in her native language of Sepedi. Her new school, Marlboro Gardens Secondary School, had an English-only curriculum. Years later when she asked her mother, a cashier who only had a primary school education, why they had moved her, her mother replied, “You actually asked me to take you to an English school.” Even at such a young age, Masenya, who is now 30, had enough agency to understand the importance of education for her future. Read more

ENOOSAEN, KENYA: When Kakenya Ntaiya was 12 years old, her best friend of the same age got married. Kakenya knew that she — like most of the girls in her community in southwestern Kenya — faced the same future. She was already engaged to her neighbor’s son, and it was planned that they would marry after Kakenya had finished undergoing female genital mutilation (FGM). Read more

HO, GHANA–Evelyn Sewodey, 25, used to sell fried yams in her village of Tanyigbe, a job that really wasn’t going anywhere. Two years ago she heard about a new free program that taught electrical and solar energy skills to disadvantaged young women (and a few men as well). Read more