DREAMS Program making dreams come true | Testimonials

DREAMS Program making dreams come true
DREAMS Program making dreams come true The 10th born in a polygamous family of 15 had to settle for the little known Sega Township Day School. Little did she know that from here, her star would still shine even brighter.
One day when in her second year, Christine encountered  a team from the Impact Research and Development Organization (IRDO)’s Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-free, Mentored, and Safe (DREAMS) program. She was screened and enrolled into the DREAMS intervention that would see her through her education and career path.
“Looking back, I really thank God and IRDO for coming to my aid. I would not have made it this far without the DREAMS program holding my hand.” She said.
We drive into Sega Township Secondary School moments after midday and the school is quiet. Apart from the many bicycles parked under the trees and one or two people walking here and there, you would think the school is off session. A few pleasantries and explaining our mission and we are asked to wait briefly.
Dressed in a black skirt, white blouse and a red windbreaker, Christine emerges and very calmly greets us with a handshake and a slight bow, a sign of respect. “I was preparing to go and teach Chemistry in one of the Form Two classes.” She offers. We have to quickly do the interview and let her go, after all Chemistry and Biology were and still remain her best subjects.
Christine sat for her O levels at this very school in 2019 and emerged the best overall with a mean grade of A-. Certainly not a small achievement for one who started secondary school with so much turbulence. Today, she has been hired as a Board of Management (BOM) teacher by her former school as she waits for University placement.
“Before I was enrolled into DREAMS, I was at the brink of losing hope in life. I could be sent home for fee but could not even go home because there was no money to bring back. Many are the days I missed lunch because I was not issued with a meal card due to my huge fee balance. May God bless IRDO” she said.
Christine’s story is replicated miles away in Wagai where we meet 19 year old Sharon Auma Orando, an untrained BOM teacher at of Biology and Chemistry at Sirembe Secondary School.
Sharon was enrolled into the DREAMS program in 2016 while at St. Mark Kogillo before she transferred to Sirembe where she finished and scored an impressive B Plain in the 2019 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
The partial orphan nearly got her dreams shattered soon after joining Form One when she got pregnant. She however, due to her resilience, picked up the pieces and made a resolve to march on. “I got motivated and decided to work even harder now that IRDO had taken over the responsibility of my fee and other personal effects. I could not let them down and when we sat for KCSE, I was the best in my school!” She exclaims with a radiant smile.
Sharon and Christine are only two out of thousands of Adolescents and Young Women (AGWs) that the DREAMS program at IRDO support. Last year alone, IRDO supported 12,819 AGYW from Siaya County   with Education subsidy support;   including school fees, stationery and uniforms.
According to the Technical Advisor, Ms. Sylviah Rachieng, the DREAMS program offers several other components that empowers the AGYW, her family members and the community at large to reduce risk of HIV and STI infection. “We have a total of 16 interventions currently being implemented in the DREAMS programme. Education subsidy is just one of the 16” She said.
“As a programme, focus is on the AGWY because of their vulnerability in the society that we live in since they are pre disposed to several conditions that would otherwise threaten their survival and livelihood.” She added.