Nigeria, 12 years
Nominated by Civil Society Action on Education for All (CSACEFA) and Nigerian Pilot Newspaper
Issue: Gender Equality
I want girls to be ALLOWED to dream, and ALLOWED to become who they have dreamed to become. It’s time to remove the barriers.
Karissa, 12, lives in Nigeria. All around her she sees girls being sexually abused, forced into early marriage, hawking on the street, and going into service very young. She was shocked when a friend of hers, working as a housemaid, ran away to escape physical and sexual molestation. Karissa felt the need to empower girls to speak out and control their own lives. She founded the K-GAP Initiative (Karissa’s Girls in Africa for Progress) and talked to girls about their hardships, creating platforms for them to become role models in their own communities. She represents disadvantaged girls in conversations with school administrators and government officials. She has reached over 1000 girls so far, and her K-GAP workshops have reduced dropout rates among girls. In the future Karissa would like to expand her initiative to other parts of Africa.