When i saw the description for this week's assignment my mind wondered in different directions.In Nigeria there are so many issues that affect young girls from accessing education.The greatest challenge girls face in my community is "teenage pregnancy"! and the mindset given to the girl-child.
i interviewed a lady that runs an an NGO for widows and the girl child and she had a wonderful enlightening story to tell me.
She said that in her state (Enugu) in eastern Nigeria,girls who get themselves pregnant at a tender age are regarded as 'devalued goods".They are either given out to a fellow woman to marry or an old man old enough to be their grandfather!At that point that puts an end to their educational pursuit and dreams of marriage to a man of their choice.
The impact this creates is emotional trauma in losing their youth and being made out as an outcast amongst family and friends.their education is thus gone forever!.The society pays for it as children are born out of horrible frustrating issues and the cycle just continues.
these issues are responsible.....poverty;some of these girls very ignorant about sexual education with no parental guidance...a lot are taken advantage of by men;the educational level of their mothers and the women in these communities is very low to properly give adequate knowledge transfer to these young girls.some of the older women believe that girls as compared to boys are strictly made for the kitchen and there seems no reason to invest in them.
I live and stay in the City so this was actually news to me! i asked her how this issues could be tackled and first she replied that..."her passion in this is the fact that it continues to be a viscous cycle from generation to generation because no one has effectively sensitized and broken the norm ".she added further that the only solution in stopping this is SENSITIZATION. Helping the older women to see that they play and share a huge responsibility in how their wards eventually turn out. She also mentioned Advocacy visits; talks on gender equality.
One thing is certain about this lady....she has a deep passion to help her community to change their mind set so that she can at least save some from this crippling menace and hopefully give girls better life then others. her dream seems tall but i know that with some help things would begin to change.She has started advocacy but her major challenge is funding to move around this communities and create deep roots of sensitization the people.
A Big thanx to world pulse for giving me the push to think of interviewing this lady and finding out first hand info on what these young girls could have best avoided (i would never have known!). Am glad to be her voice and a million others that are saying that girls need to be in school and need to avoid being pregnant and if they do.....their care givers shouldn't land them a life sentence!