Lovette Ochicha was raised in a traditional Nigerian home. Her family did not suffer from poverty and she was encouraged her to go to University. When she dropped out aged seventeen, it was not for financial reasons. It was because she had become pregnant.

 

Sadly, this is the case for a large number of young women across the world, and is particularly common in some parts of Nigeria. Faced with persistent pressure from several family members, Lovette had little choice but to leave home and live with the father of her child.

 

Before long, she was pregnant with a second child and her prospects of graduating became even more unlikely. For Lovette, however, not getting a degree was simply not an option. “For me, it is so important to finish what I have started”, she explains.

 

She devoted all of her free time to finishing her studies, gaining a diploma in estate management before completing another in computer science. It was then she decided to focus on helping others, undertaking a social work placement that ultimately led her to the Search and Groom Youth for Development Centre.

 

At Search and Groom, Lovette works with young Nigerians to help structure their lives and improve their futures. “I currently work with about 60% boys and 40% girls, but I am hoping to increase the number of girls in the future.” Lovette is a role model for the young people she works with, showing them that even with two children she was not forced to leave her education behind.

 

“I see myself in some of them”, she says. “I want them to be able to follow a similar path to mine.” 

“Unfortunately, most of the girls still think that football is not for them, that it is only a boy’s thing.”

Lovette Ochicha
Search & Groom