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The Girl Cause, Our Cause!

In the past in my rural community, girl’s higher education was believed to be a waste as the girl will marry and take everything she has learnt to her husband’s house and end it in the kitchen. One interesting thing within my community is that no matter how bad it is, every parent struggles to give their female children Primary and Secondary education which they believe is important to be able to write and read.

After my Secondary School education, I was told that I have to learn some handwork as going to the University will affect my getting married, it was believed that men are scared of highly educated girls. A lady in my village years back graduated as a Mechanical Engineer, got a job, built a house for her immediate family (they were a family of 8 managing one room in their Uncle’s), inspired and financially supported the brothers marriages and businesses, but in all of this, she was disrespected and called names because she was still single. I recently realized she was just about 30years of age at the time when the community wrote her off. Her case was used severally as an example for us as to why we have to get married from Secondary School, quite a number actually did. I continued my education out of stubbornness; I was looking up to a cousin of mine who is a Professors daughter, I dreamt to speak English like she does, carry myself like she does and even dress like her. I had a dream as a child and could not allow my parents or relations to kill that dream, I was labeled a rebel, but it paid off for me. I don’t know how I would’ve been doing all I do today if I have no further education.

Though they believed that women education ends in kitchen and therefore not necessary, parents suddenly started encouraging girls to continue with their University education while waiting for a husband, this encouraged quite a number of girl graduates, unfortunately most were not employable because they went to School more or less to while away time till a husband calls. A young lady studying English and in her 1st semester of final year left her studies because a husband came calling, unfortunately what she expected was not what she saw, she realized so late and she didn’t differ her course program, today she is a problem instead of a solution.

One Great Challenge today is quality of education, it’s a different story with girls in my rural community, 98% have access to education, but the quality of education is the biggest problem now, it’s a pathetic issue now as a girl who has finished Secondary education (especially in Government Schools) finds it very difficult to read or write.
Lack of mother/child mentoring is a huge is barrier. I am a volunteer coordinator with an organisation called Kechies

Project www.kechiesproject.org, an organisation that supports and encourage girl child education, giving vulnerable girls who are intelligent but cannot afford basic requirements for school scholarship. Presently I noticed that one of the mothers feels it’s her right, she makes no effort anymore especially when we require documentation for the girls, and I had encouraged them that we all need to work together for their daughter’s success. I made out time to find out what could be wrong and did find out that the mothers themselves are going through so much challenges which has caused them low self-esteem and thereby affecting their decisions and attitude to those who are willing to help.

Free education, but not free - In Lagos State where I live there is free education, but there are other fees to pay and this discourages the parents. They are just so much for them that you will wonder what the ‘Free education’ meant.

Quest for money – due to demands from both school and the community, our girls even in primary school now have to help their mothers in hawking goods to make ends meet and these has exposed them to men who always promise them everything to sleep with them. Those of them involved in this hardly listen to anyone because they believe you cannot give them what they get from them. Most times I just wish we can afford to build a boarding school where everything will be free for the vulnerable, that way they can be managed and nurtured properly.

If we want to drive progress in the world, we need to put girls in the driver’s seat. Each of us can speak up, raise awareness, support organizations, or do something to make girls’ causes our cause. Girl power is one of global development’s most potent weapons against poverty - Kathy Calvin

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Comments

pelamutunzi's picture

great job

keep doing the wonderful work with kechies. you may not save the world but that one girl who will be empowered and make a difference is enough

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.
regards
pela

VITSAF's picture

Thabk you

Dear Pelamutunzi,
Thanks much I really appreciate your kind words, indeed there is no one woman that can save the World.
Together and Collectively WE Can!

Kind Regards,
Ogo

Improving the Quality of Life of individuals (primarily women) living with vitiligo, skin imperfections altered images and autoimmune disorder!

www.vitsaf.org
www.25june.org
https://www.facebook.com/WorldVitiligoDay
https://www.facebook.com/groups/

One of Many's picture

very interesting and diverse

Thank you, Ogo, for your interesting account of the situation for girls getting educated in Surulere and Nigeria.

The account of the mechanical engineer and how she was shunned is heartbreaking. I have the sense, though, that she was not surprised her community reacted this way and was determined to be who she wanted to be, regardless.

It is so sad how hard it is for people to understand that the "things" they want are not what will make them happy, or to prevent people from giving up their education for something that men promise them.

You are so right that educating women and girls is of primary importance -- it gives them access to the thinking skills that might help them see past the sparkles of what men promise.

It seems that you have a diverse set of interests and that you are already making a big difference for women and girls. Thank you so much for the excellent essay,

Anna

Speaking my Peace

VITSAF's picture

WOW really appreciate your comment

Dear Anna,
Quite encouraging and inspiring reading your comment on my post. am sorry for responding late.
Yes I really do have diverse interest but primarily focused on Vitiligo. More reason am here and getting a course on Advocacy and Citizen engagement to learn more how I can do them successfully and impactfully.

Atimes I just wish I can take up so many causes, we just cant continue waiting for Govt....

Thanks so much, let me get my last assignment sorted now

Warm Regards,
Ogo

Improving the Quality of Life of individuals (primarily women) living with vitiligo, skin imperfections altered images and autoimmune disorder!

www.vitsaf.org
www.25june.org
https://www.facebook.com/WorldVitiligoDay
https://www.facebook.com/groups/

Jumi's picture

Your passion is contagious

Dear Ogo, your passion showed through in your entry and need I say that passion is contagious. We must keep at it and continue to drive change in our communities, especially where education is concerned. Good job on the vitiligo front as well. Your efforts are not in vain. I stand with you, my sister.

VITSAF's picture

Thanks Jumi

Really really apprciate your comment, love that.

I totally agree with you that 'We must keep at it and continue to drive change in our communities, especially where education is concerned'. And I add together we shall surely achieve education and empowerment for the girl child.

Thanks so much

Much Love
Ogo

Improving the Quality of Life of individuals (primarily women) living with vitiligo, skin imperfections altered images and autoimmune disorder!

www.vitsaf.org
www.25june.org
https://www.facebook.com/WorldVitiligoDay
https://www.facebook.com/groups/

sallyf's picture

Thank you

Wow. Even when it seems that girls' access to education is a priority, still many barriers remain in place. It's wonderful to see your organisation challenging them, and moreover, people like you following in the footsteps of your cousin and the mechanical engineer in your village : providing strong role models to lead the way for those who come after. Power to you!
And thank you for a very interesting read.

VITSAF's picture

Thanks so much Sallyf

I really appreciate your comment Sallyf, together we can achieve the desired goal and objectives for the girl child globally.

Improving the Quality of Life of individuals (primarily women) living with vitiligo, skin imperfections altered images and autoimmune disorder!

www.vitsaf.org
www.25june.org
https://www.facebook.com/WorldVitiligoDay
https://www.facebook.com/groups/

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