Girl Child Student Form 4 Graduation 2019
I was very lucky to be the ‘Guest of Honour’ at the Wells for Zoë Form 4 graduation ceremony on Saturday 8th June. Not only was it an incredible celebration of the girl child students and the challenges they have overcome to reach their final year of schooling, but a celebration of all that Wells for Zoë have done to inspire and encourage these girls to work hard and recognise the importance of education.
The girls were all excited about the graduation and many prepared songs, dances, poetry, and speeches for the Wells for Zoë staff and Centre for Learning teachers.
The day made me think back to my own graduation from school, just three years ago. I had been set on studying International Development for a while by then, and the idea I would get a place in my dream course and eventually be attending a graduation of such inspiring girl child students in a developing country like Malawi just three years later is more than I could have ever imagined.
This day made me realise just how lucky I am, and how we are in Ireland, where we take our education for granted. Being able to see first-hand the difficulties in gaining an education for Malawian girls makes me think back on my own years in school, and the struggles that all teenage girls face, let alone having the worry of school fees, early marriage, forced pregnancy – and often living without electricity or running water at home.
When it came to making my own speech to congratulate the achievement of graduation from secondary school, my main message to the girls was that I was in their position just three years ago – and it is through my own education that I was standing in front of them, thousands of miles away from my home in Ireland. I hope this will encourage these girls to continue working hard, believing in themselves, and see just how far an education can take you.