Hellen: Girls with DREAMS
Hellen, Kenya. Photo courtesy of PEPFAR Kenya.
Hellen, Kenya. Photo courtesy of PEPFAR Kenya.

Girls with DREAMS: Hellen

9th July 2021


Hellen lives in Kisumu County. Kisumu County has a population of 1,118,000 (KDS 2018) and has some of the highest rates of HIV prevalence in Kenya.

According to the Kenya HIV Estimates 2015, HIV prevalence in Kisumu is 3.4 times higher than the national prevalence at 19.9 percent.

Women in the county are at greater risk of HIV infection than men: the HIV prevalence among women is 21.2 percent compared to 18.3 percent among men.

Hellen: Girls with DREAMS
Hellen marks maths exams in her classroom. Photo courtesy of PEPFAR Kenya.

Hellen was married when she was 19 years old; with the false promise of advanced education.

She rekindled her dreams of being a teacher through DREAMS, where she was supported to join the Asumbi Teachers College for a two-year teacher training course.

Hellen: Girls with DREAMS
Hellen ensures her son looks smart on their way to school. Photo courtesy of PEPFAR Kenya.

Hellen, 22, teaches Kiswahili, Maths, Social Studies, and Religious Education for grades 3-8 at a private primary school in Seme, Kisumu County. Hellen's children attend the same school.

“Having no skills to take care of yourself and your children is the worst feeling. When my dream of becoming a teacher came true, everyone in my community, including my husband, was very proud. I am independent and no longer a housewife.”

Hellen: Girls with DREAMS
Hellen enjoys a quiet moment at home with a book. Photo courtesy of PEPFAR Kenya.

Girls with DREAMS

This profile is taken from the PEPFAR Kenya “Our Lens Sauti Zetu (Our Voices)” photo book — a compilation of images captured by DREAMS girls highlighting their own stories.

The following DREAMS girls were the eyes behind the lens and beautifully captured the stories of the young women featured in the project: Dorcas Akinyi Onyango, Agnes Wanjiru Mugure, Flovian Atieno, Faith Akumu, Francisca Ndinda, Effie Awino, Fatuma Lando, Dorothy Oyuga, Linet Odira, Hellen Atieno.

Text and images from “Our Lens Sauti Zetu (Our Voices)” are used with permission from PEPFAR Kenya. Learn more about Girls with DREAMS.