Deborah is a young girl from Uganda and she has a story like many others. She lives 40km away from school, every day she has to make a long and potentially dangerous journey just to get to class. Deborah’s father left her and her mother many years ago; It has been difficult for Deborah and her mother to make ends meet. Despite all this adversity, Deborah has not let this bring her down.

Deborah is a student at a PEAS school, and since starting at PEAS she has discovered a hidden talent that she hopes will open up her future. Deborah is a dancer. When she is dancing Deborah feels good and healthy, she idolises Dr Jessica Mirion who is a creative dancer like her. Deborah loves all kinds of dancing though, even choreographing breakdancing routines with her friends. Dancing has been a massive coping tool for Deborah, a way for her to make sense of the difficulties in life. Deborah believes that discovering this talent means that with hard work and practice she can have a future in music and dance. Hopefully, this means she’ll be able to help provide a better future for her and her mother.

Deborah is not only interested in dance, she also has a unique and important view on gender equality. Deborah believes Ugandan women are powerful, particularly women like Deborah’s mother who have had to look after their families without a husband. Deborah calls these women the ‘heroes of Uganda’ – an honourable accolade. PEAS has supported Deborah and her classmates to learn about sexual and reproductive health. The popular ‘Girls Clubs’ at PEAS schools provide young women (and men) with important information about menstrual management and provide them with items such as reusable sanitary kits. Access to these simple goods are revolutionary for young women like Deborah who previously had no money to buy ‘modern pads’.

Deborah is also a supporter of PEAS’ policies on letting pregnant girls and young mothers go to school. Unfortunately, across Uganda this is not always the case. Many young women who find themselves in these difficult situations are asked to leave school making their chances of a successful future for them and their babies event smaller. Deborah believes PEAS’ inclusionary policy allows girls who may not always have the support they need around them to find solace and encouragement in education and learning.

Deborah’s future looks substantially brighter thanks to the education she is receiving from PEAS and the support she receives from her mother.