Girls living in Mikindani slums, Mombasa County have often been victims of forced early marriages, early pregnancies, gender-based violence, alcohol and drug abuse.
Some are forced to drop out of schools due to poverty and low levels of economic development. Others opt to serve as sex workers to earn a living.
The narrative, however, is changing thanks to a program initiated to empower the young teen mothers and vulnerable adolescent girls to improve their livelihoods through skills.
Mikindani Hair and Beauty College has now become a safe and solace haven to the vulnerable group through mentorship and offering training at subsidy fee to make them self-dependents, thereby calling an end to the sexual and economic exploitation and abuse of girls.
According to the college administrator Betty Adhiambo, the college was started in May, 2021 with the aim of motivating young girls who drop out of school due to pregnancy and financial constraints.
She also says the college is now a beacon of hope to the desperate young girls who had been living a dejected life thus making them vulnerable to indulging in prostitution, drugs and crime.
Ms Betty says they are offering training at a subsidy fee while orphaned girls and girls with needy cases are sponsored by the college.
“We offer courses in Hairdressing, Cosmetology, Barbering and Nail technology where before enrolment the young girls are guided on how to choose courses of their choice,” She said.
Betty adds that hand craft skills are a life time investment, portable and transferable.
She said their aim is to foresee a future of self-reliant and self-employed Teen Mothers effectively meeting the needs of the families and serving communities where they live.
Evelyn Akinyi, a teacher at the college teaching hairdressing and beauty said the college is lacking enough teaching space because of the high number of girls who have enrolled for the training.
Akinyi says most of the girls at the college cannot afford to buy practical materials while others are attending classes nursing their babies.
Two young mothers who are program beneficiaries at the college, Monica Komba and Khadija Rashid are appealing to the well-wishers to help the needy students at the college who cannot afford to buy learning materials for their practical classes and also pay school fees.
The college administration is also appealing to well-wishers who can assist the young girls with capital to start their business once they complete their courses.