NANYUKI, Kenya (WOMENSENEWS) — My cousin Samantha has been loved by a boy who is 5 years older than her since she was 12 years old. This boy, Sammy, gave her gifts and was very kind to her. He was kind and patient and advised her to study hard and be the best she could be. By the time Samantha graduated from primary school, with very high marks, she had completely fallen for Sammy but kept quiet about it.

After joining secondary school, Sammy no longer saw Samantha as a little girl. He started telling her how much he loved and cared about her. On hearing this, Samantha felt like she owned the world. From friends, they became lovers. At 16 years, Samantha went to bed with Sammy, who was 21 by then. Two months later, she found out she was pregnant. Sammy did not deny the pregnancy and Samantha regretted their coupling.

Life became harder than she had even imagined. Sammy had no job. Taking care of the pregnancy without enough money was not easy. She named the baby boy Gift. After breastfeeding him for six months, she decided to go back to school. Being a student and a mother was challenging. Her class work was overwhelming and required absolute concentration. This was challenging for her since she had an infant to take care of. Before long, Sammy started having affairs with other women. These affairs led to frequent fights between him and Samantha. She finally did her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exam. She was top in her class, which was amazing considering the challenges she had undergone and the poor quality of education in that village. She was offered a scholarship to attend university, which normally would have made her very happy, but she was pregnant again. And Sammy was not in support of her going to university. When her sponsors realized she was pregnant, they canceled her scholarship. She had lost the only chance she had to change her life forever. She decided to stay at home and take care of her family.

At my school I’ve learned that I am a woman of integrity, strength and hope. Because of these lessons I’m going to try to convince my cousin to leave Sammy and get another scholarship from the county government. I will help her understand how this will help her be a better mum to her kids and create a better world for herself. Wish me luck.