Why I say Educate One Girl
Globally there is a wide gap in youth literacy in child education for girls. Although the gap has been shrinking over time, the data shows that fewer girls are emerging from education systems with basic literacy skills than boys and those numbers are significantly daunting when we look at developing countries.
Take Uganda, where I am from, for decades, 98% of the rural Ugandan girls do not complete high school level. Nearly 0.5% will graduate at a diploma level. When we look at these numbers and count the girls, who will then be forced into marriages that for many will be violent, multiple births, and a high risk of either contracting HIV and/or birthing children infected who do not survive, This is not a picture of a healthy
What does this mean to global society? From my perspective it breeds not only further discontent and poverty, but disrupts our ability to positively shift both economic and environmental global change. Just look at the “common life” that is now prevalent in Uganda’s rural communities today for women. Domestic abuse is rampant. Many girls have been forced into marriages by the age of 13 because a primary reason is that the parents cannot afford school fees. The actual poverty is ignorance. Most grassroots communities do not know what to do to generate income simply because they lack mentorship and sensitization. By staying uneducated the community suffers. How can we expect these women and their children “to do better” or to “help improve our world” when they are starving emotionally and physically and they are dying.
Take myself I was considered one of the hopeless 10 years ago. I had a father who was traditionally bent and did not mind about his own children and or their education. My Mother on the hand took a stand and at times received harsh punishment for it to find a way to educate her children. The money for school was a primary issue. To earn these funds my Mother brewed alcohol in the bush in total darkness from morning to dawn, she sold her own
cloths, food and more to save the dollars needed to send her first born son and daughter to school. Both of my siblings finished their tertiary education but they died along the way.
I can still remember her tears whenever I was chased from school due to lack of school fees. And, think of the anguish my Mother must have felt as she struggled to survive.
My Mother’s story is one of many rural Uganda girls. She got married to my father at the age of 12. My mother lost 4 step children and 4 of her own children as a result of HIV/AIDS, and one while giving birth to twins. Out of 12, she – my mother Nociata, 66 years old is left with only 3 daughters and now is raising 17 grand children who she is hopeful they will bring smiles in her face someday surviving to adulthood.
My Mother now confesses that she never had peace in her marriage until my father died 5 years ago. He kept marrying until his death. My 12 brother and sisters grew up seeing our Mom tortured week by week, year by year. My father literally chased all of us and beat us over nothing. We slept in the bush on many occasions. We would seek refuge a large percent of the time at my Mother’s Mothers house. This is where my mother escaped to heal from
her husband’s home and we were lucky to have it. Many Uganda woman do not have that support. As I write this I think of how everyday sounds (a cows moo, a cock-a-doodle doo or a dog barking in the distance) would set my father into a rage where he would then attack my Mother. I think now of the children who are still subjected to this depraved behavior and suffer from the consequences of random unprotected sex, the disease and the unfed children left behind whom then join the cycle again.
To break the cycle, women like my Mother who despite all their suffering and barriers, never give up. My Mother provided my brothers and sisters a basic education. Just think, if she had the funds to attend school how our lives would have been different. “My father denied me education that is why I want you, my children to go to school” Nociata, my mother would remind us throughout our childhoods.
I was very lucky to be educated by an American woman, Rebecca Howard from Kentucky and her sister Shelby Young from Alabama who picked me up from hopelessness and educated me until I achieved a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. Today I have a job, as a Communications Officer for Build Africa – Uganda. I am struggling to take care of my family -- educate my nieces and nephews and the very needy in my community. Thanks to you precious Aunt and a friend here in World Pulse for giving me an extra hand / financial contribution for educating my Nieces and Nephews.
My passion is to support and empower any helpless girl in my community, Uganda, Africa and those around the world. Given the opportunity every girl can make a difference when she is educated. I am dedicated to my very last breath to work to drive positive change and to educate one girl at a time, because everyone deserves a better life and education is the right path to better living.
Join me in making change, no matter the country or continent of your dream, you are empowering the future global leaders, turning your passion into action.