We recently caught up with a couple Pearl Girls who completed the Pearl Program a few years ago. These girls are now nearly finished their high school education. Read on to see how the program has made an impact in their lives and helped them to navigate high school with confidence and success.
16-year-old SEBOPEHO is in grade 11, the final year of high school in Lesotho. She completed the Pearl Program back in 2019. Sebopeho lives with her mother and three brothers. Her mother is not working, but her older brother is an accountant and is able to help support the family. When she was in grade 10, Sebopeho started dreaming of becoming a doctor when she grows up because she loves biology.
Looking back at when she started high school, Sebopeho does not hesitate to say that peer pressure was the biggest challenge. Everywhere she looked she could see students being negatively influenced by others. Some are no longer attending school because they did not keep their grades up. For Sebopeho, she decided to avoid making close friends in the first couple years of high school. She was friendly with people, but did not want anyone to have too much influence over her. Now she has wonderful friends whom she fully trusts. She knows what good friendships look like and she isn’t willing to accept anything less. The same goes for finding a boyfriend – although Sebopeho hasn’t found someone who is a good match for her yet. She said, “I see my friends having so many boyfriends, but they hurt them so much. I don’t want that.”
Sebopeho maintained friendships with fellow Pearl Girls from her session. Even though they go to several different schools, they are still able to support one another; “We like to help each other”.
A quiet leader with a bright smile, Sebopeho stands up against peer-pressure and bullying in her school and has become a trusted confidant among other young girls in her school and community. “The Pearl Program helped so much. There are so many challenges, especially for girls. I get to help others now.” She shared an example of a girl being bullied for being at the top of her class. Other students were taking her books and making fun of her for performing well. Sebopeho befriended the girl and supported her to keep her head up. They are now friends who rely on one another to have each others’ backs.
“In my village there are so many children who are not going to school. I see everyday what I would be doing if I didn’t have this opportunity.”
At just 16-years-old, grade 10 student MEISI is already a strong leader amongst her peers. She was orphaned at just eight-years old and has survived thanks to the support of her grandmother. After completing the Pearl Program in 2020, she began her high school education with confidence.
“I was a really shy person but being at Help Lesotho really helped me.”
Reflecting on her time as a Pearl Girl and Pearl Mentor, Meisi shared, “Before I was stressed to say anything wrong. But being a Pearl Girl and Mentor helped me learn to talk and share ideas. Now I join everything and have things to say.” She went on to say, “I was always being told I am unique, just like unique pearl stones. I learned self-esteem and human rights. It really helped me be a leader. Next year I will be head girl at my school. Teachers could see my self-esteem so they chose me. I’m open with other people.”
Being promoted as ‘head girl’ at her school is a tremendous accomplishment. The position is nominated by students who select the person they feel best represents the student body. As head girl, Meisi will be a link between teachers and students. She will motivate and encourage students to work hard and dedicate themselves to their studies.
Meisi is putting what she learned from the Pearl Program into action every day. She has overcome so much to get to where she is today, and she knows she still has a long way to go to figure out her future, especially without parents to support and guide her along the way. It is astonishing that she has the capacity to support and motivate other students the way she is. There is no doubt that Meisi has a bright future ahead!