We met Rihanata in the small village of Koala, just two hours from Burkina Faso’s capital city. I bet you know someone just like Rihanata. She wears jeans to school. She plays, studies and gossips with her best friends. She asked us, “how do you collect water where you live?” 

Rihanata wants to know because she collects water from a dam that’s about a 40 minute walk away, three times a day. Here in the southern Sahel during the dry seasons, the roads are hot, dusty and dry. She tells us, “The first would be for cooking, the second would be for animals, the third for household needs. It’s very hard.”

#Girlstrong 

Another thing you should know about Rihanata, she’s confident – how many 15-year old girls do you know would tell a stranger, “I’m not afraid to go to school when I have my period, because we can use the teacher’s toilet to change.” 

That’s right – her school has access to safe water and toilets, something Rihanata does not have at home. But even if that weren’t the case, Rihanata likes school. “My favorite subjects are history and geography. It helps me understand my country. I can say what it means to be in Burkina Faso.” 

We all have times we’d rather be doing something else. Rihanata is no different, she says, “If I wasn’t collecting water I would be studying. I would like to become a doctor. As a doctor you can heal the people in your community.” 

Help unlock the potential of 5,000 girls like Rihanata. Build a better future by joining #Girlstrong.