Lilian Awino: “Marriage is not the solution”

Lilian AwinoLilian’s early childhood involved a great deal of shuffling around. Her father kicked her mother out of their home when Lilian was quite young, forcing her to stay with her grandmother and eventually her uncle in Muhuru Bay.

By the time she reached Class 8, Lilian was being steered towards getting married, as her family had little hope of paying for secondary school. Feeling trapped, she ran away. Lilian’s parents began staying together again, but her mother had begun selling chang’aa (home-brewed alcohol) to make ends meet and was an unreliable caretaker.

Eventually, Lilian resigned that she had no option but to get married and began to make the necessary preparations. Her husband-to-be, however, was skeptical as she was still very young. He told her about a new secondary school that was going to offer girls full scholarships and encouraged her to try and get accepted.

When Lilian was called for an interview, he told her that if she was not selected they could continue with their marriage plans, but that if she was given the opportunity to attend WISER, she should continue her education. Through WISER, Lilian’s life has taken a drastically different turn. As she put it, “WISER has made me realize that marriage is not the solution to girls’ problems and that girls have equal abilities to boys. Education is for all people!” Lilian hopes to pursue a degree in medical laboratory sciences and work to improve the health of her community.

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