My name is Mildred Biwott, an 18-year-old form three student at Tendwo Secondary school in Ainabkoi sub county, Uasin Gishu County. When I joined form one, as part of my orientation into high school my peers introduced me to relationships. I was not very interested and not having a boyfriend at the time, my friends influenced me to give into boys who made advances at me. Occasionally, my friends would ask; “Kwa nini maboy wakikuja kwako unawalenga?” (Why is it that you ignore boys when they approach you?) They would praise their boyfriends and boast about the favors they obtained from them such as free rides from school and pocket money. This sounded alluring which made me also want to have a boyfriend so as to fit in.
I had low self-esteem and so I spent a lot of my time on casual visits with friends. This distracted me from my studies leading to a significant drop in my academic performance. This was until I was selected to be part of the SEAL training in our school where I was trained on sexual reproductive health and life skills among others. From the training, I got to learn of the risks I lay open to by getting into relationships since I had no idea about abstinence. Being a SEAL, I also learnt how to live with others and how to be assertive and resistant to peer pressure.
Often my friends ridiculed me asking what I was “sealing” but that did not deter me from attending the training since it was making me a better person. I also received mentorship on academics which helped me to refocus on my studies and my performance started to improve from grade D in my previous exams to a C in my current term. My self-esteem was boosted since I was more aware of myself, my health and my academics, which also meant disassociating myself from some of my peers. Today, I can easily communicate with not only my fellow peers but also my school principal regarding challenges that I or my friends are facing. I no longer interested in getting into relationships as I have devoted all my time and energy to my studies and it has been a success.
‘I aspire to be a telecommunications engineer and with the knowledge and skills obtained from the SEAL program I am confident that this dream will be realized’ Mildred Biwott
As a SEAL, I have utilized the knowledge and skills obtained from the training to reach out to my friends at school and in the village about sexual and reproductive health matters such as sexual responsibility as well as life skills so that they can make informed decisions. Though I may not be able to reach out to everyone in my community I am proud of the significant changes not only in my life but also in those of the peers that I have reached out to.
I aspire to be a telecommunications engineer and with the knowledge and skills obtained from the SEAL program I am confident that this dream will be realized. I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the program for helping me secure my future by delivering me from the destruction that was creeping into my life very fast. Most especially I am grateful for the opportunity I was accorded to visit State House in Nairobi where I was privileged to meet the First Lady. I hope that the program continues impacting the lives of more youths so that they do not fall victims of peer pressure. I am empowered and my life has indeed transformed.