Stefani McCoy, seated in the center of the front row, was a high school dropout. After going back to school and completing her college degree, she joined the Peace Corps and went to Namibia to help fellow dropouts.

Back when Stefani McCoy was 17, she felt isolated and depressed. Her mother was raising her solo while her father battled drug addiction. One day, she decided she was done with going to school. “No one could talk me out of it,” says McCoy, who soon ended up living out of her car.
Eleven years later, she’s in the Peace Corps, trying to help dropouts in Namibia in a similar situation.
As McCoy says, “They’re me in African form.”
McCoy is stationed in Rundu, on the northern border of the country, working with the local branch of the Community Skills Development Center (COSDEC). Its programs provide vocational training in areas such as plumbing and office administration for dropouts who want to enter the work force but lack the skills to succeed.
There are number of reasons it’s so common for kids to leave school early in Namibia. COSDEC colleague Toive Pessa ticks off a …