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PAYOWI celebrates Catherine M. Barkay describes her achievement as strong-willed

Paramount Young Women Initiative (PAYOWI) congratulate Ms. Catherine M. Barkay as she graduates High School.

Ms. Barkay, age 21, is a passionate volunteer, mentee and scholarship beneficiary at PAYOWI and a student of the People Institute High School in Congo Town.

In 2018, when she was in grade 10, Ms. Barkay’s hope of continuing her education was threatened because her father became critically sick and could not continue to pay his daughter’s school fees or provide for his household. Out of fear of dropping out of school, Catherine reached out to PAYOWI and she was immediately accepted on PAYOWI’s scholarship program.

A year later, the institution itself became challenged and could not continue the scholarship/ financial aid program. PAYOWI reluctantly with great dismay communicated the unpleasant news to all beneficiaries.

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But Catherine did not accept the information, she boldly walked into PAYOWI’s office and pleaded with the organization not to cut off the assistance. If PAYOWI doesn’t pay my fees, my school business finished – I will try myself and bring my own contribution, whatever I have, I will add to what PAYOWI can afford and pay my fees, but I don’t want to drop from school”.

Catherine’s statement and courage pierce our hearts, her deliberate, bold and persistent engagement led to her being the lone beneficiary of PAYOWI financial aid. We work with Catherine through the years and today, she has graduated High School and on her way to college and becoming a successful entrepreneur and women’s rights activist. 

Out of the total number of twenty-seven (27) students of the People Institute High School who took the National WASSCE exam, Ms. Barkay is the only student who successfully passed the national WASSCE exam.  

According to the West African Examinations Council -WACE Liberia, a candidate is required to successfully pass six subjects or more including English and Math to be qualified for graduation without re-sitting the exams. 

Catherine is not only focused on her desire to achieve academic excellence, but she is also a young vibrant advocate who uses her voice to speak up for the rights of women and girls. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who uses business to tell her story and inspire her friends. Ms. Barkay’s dream is to further her education and become a professional Accountant.

Today, Catherine is very happy and grateful to PAYOWI for providing her the needed support and ensuring her completion of high school. She graduated from the People’s Institute on Sunday, February 23, 2022. 

‘’PAYOWI has always been there for me since my father became sick. I was scared that I was not going to finish high school but God used PAYOWI to help me and I just want to tell PAYOWI people thank you’’. Catherine explained.    

Education is the key for women to achieve economic independence. Although women and girls in Liberia have the right to an education, equal access to education for women and girls remains a problem. Education is a human right and a force for sustainable development and peace, therein education is essentially captured in Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) of the 2030 Agenda which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030, Catherine, like many other girls and young women, struggle to attain an education, if they enroll, retention and completion of secondary school remains an even greater challenge.

PAYOWI is a non-for-profit women-led and women-focused organization that works to ensure the promotion of quality education and empowerment for all women and girls. Over the past sixteen years and still moving strongly, PAYOWI continues to develop the capacity of women and girls in different aspects of their lives to ensure they too find their space, claim their voice and excel in society.  PAYOWI remains committed to defending and protecting the right to education of all school-going persons in the country, especially women and girls.

Congratulation Catherine M. Barkay, we celebrate you and all the young women and girls breakings barriers and achieving.


The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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