After fleeing her home in Macina, a small village in central Mali, where she was due to be forced into marriage against her will, 16-year-old Fatouma took shelter with her brother.
Having failed the national high school exam twice, coupled with expensive school fees, Fatouma had little choice but to drop out to become a cleaner, earning around $17 a month.
“Leaving school without a diploma meant that I could only find a job as an unskilled worker for the rest of my life” she said.
But listening to local radio one day, she heard about an education programme for girls and young women offered by UN Women. Here’s what happened next.