Skip to content

Girls Opportunity Alliance: Rebecca's Story

Across many countries and cultures, female genital mutilation (FGM) is considered a rite of passage for girls transitioning into womanhood. Although countries like Kenya have outlawed this practice, it still continues today.

Rebecca experienced FGM when she was just 12 years old; she was the fourteenth girl in her village to be cut that day. Afterwards, she was considered a woman, so her family decided she should drop out of school and get married. Rebecca vowed that some day things would be different for her daughters.

In this picture a lady with a deep skin tone wearing a teal shirt and a light blue 
dress with flower patterns is shown sitting on a tree stump.

When Rebecca had children of her own, she discovered the Alternative Rite of Passage program through the  Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP) (Opens in a new tab), which teaches girls and families a different way to transition into womanhood. She immediately signed up her firstborn daughter, Purity Gatwiri. The program teaches families about women’s health and encourages them to keep their daughters in school. Upon completing the program, families gather for a ceremony that celebrates the power of women and girls in their village and to enjoy music, dancing, and—of course—cake!

Adolescent girls attend an Alternative Rite of Passage Ceremony

With her mom’s support and the help of WGEP, Purity Gatwiri became the first girl in her entire village to attend university. She’s working to become a land surveyor and even helped add her mother’s name to the rights on their family’s land.

If it was not for my mom’s courage, I would not be where I am today.”

Rebecca

“My life is very different from my mother’s,” Purity says. “If it was not for my mom’s courage, I would not be where I am today.”

In this picture, three young girls with different skin tones are shown with 
magnifying glasses are looking into a cut-in-half bottle of brown water.

Support Young Women

You can support young women around the world through the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund.

Donate on GoFundMe
Aspect Ratio

Watch Diana’s story

Malawi | See how a scholarship from AGE Africa helped Diana attend school.

Learn more
Aspect Ratio

Watch Rebecca’s story

Rebecca experienced FGM when she was just 12 years old; she was the fourteenth girl in her village to be cut that day. Afterwards, she was considered a woman, so her family decided she should drop out of school and get married. Rebecca vowed that some day things would be different for her daughters.

Learn more
Laxmi's Photo Portrait

Watch Laxmi’s story

India | See how the Prerna Girls School helped Laxmi balance her family’s needs and her education.

Learn more
Aspect Ratio

Read Hay's story

Vietnam | Learn how the Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund provided Hay the tools she needed to succeed.

Learn more
Aspect Ratio

Read Kiran's story

India | Learn how one young woman overcame gender discrimination to attend school with help from the Study Hall Educational Foundation.

Learn more
Single Image

Watch Thuba's story

Namibia | See how Thuba is empowering girls through sports with Physically Active Youth.

Learn more
37-scaled

Celebrate Mother's Day with the Girls Opportunity Alliance e-cards

This Mother's Day, send your mom or the woman who raised you a card designed by the Girls Opportunity Alliance!

Learn more