As Glimmer prepares to launch our work in the Villages of Shoa in the coming months, we continue to hear from the community here that one of their highest priorities is secondary education. In nearby Mendida Village, where Glimmer recently built a brand new high school, we see just how this can change the course of a girl's life. Meet Genet and Elsabet, two young women on a path to break the cycle of poverty.

Genet Tassew is finding a fresh start in high school today. Years ago, she dropped out in the eighth grade because the nearest high school was more than 12 miles away. Although she excelled in mathematics and aspired to study engineering, her family could not afford to send her to another village to study; room and board is cost-prohibitive for many rural families. By age 16, Genet was married and soon gave birth to her first child. 

Then, in 2012, Glimmer constructed Abebe Bikila High School in Genet's village. Today, at age 21, Genet is in Grade 9 and thrilled to be back in school.

"For me it was amazing news when I heard the opening of this high school. My dream to learn was restored and I can continue my schooling. I have a hopeful future. I have a vision to be an engineer."

Elsabet Daraje also loves school. At 16, her favorite subject is physics and she hopes to become a doctor. A high school in her village allows her to pursue that dream. After watching her brothers struggle through years of traveling long distances to attend high school, she told us how important it is to be able to stay at home throughout her high school years. 

"My family can easily follow my daily progress and help me if there is any problem. I feel that I am very lucky and with such a nice school, I believe that my academic performance will only improve.”