Aida comes from the Kaolack region of Senegal. When her father was assigned a new job in the capital, her family had to move with him. She now lives in a densely populated suburb of Dakar with her parents and four brothers.
Aida dropped out of school at the age of 15 without completing her studies, deciding instead to try to find a job and make some money. At the time, it was a source of pride to be able to contribute to the family’s income.
However Aida is well aware of the opportunities she has missed out on as a result of not finishing school, and is now a vocal advocate for girls’ rights and empowerment. Following training received as part of a Plan International youth economic empowerment project, she is committed to speaking up for other young people. “It is not easy, because as a young girl I am often not listened to,” she says. “But in the end, I manage to put my message out there.
Today, the 23-year-old runs her own little restaurant where she serves breakfast and is well on her way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a successful restauranteur in the capital Dakar. “When you want something, you must give yourself the means of its ambition,” she says determinedly.