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WEEK 3 LET ME FLY

WEEK 3 LET ME FLY
We all long for a world of equal opportunities for people of both gender, a world devoid of discrimination, oppression and frustrations based on who you are .We all yearn for such happy times when education will not be the prerogative of the special few, but, is free and accessible to all,
Unfortunately, for the girl child in my community, such a world is a tall dream, mere wishful thinking, the figment of the imagination of female idle mind, some erroneously term it.
I am one of the lucky ones that have gone to school .I hold a Master degree Public Administration and now collating data for my Doctorate degree in Political Economy. I attribute this success to my parents who saw the need to educate me and my other siblings irrespective of gender.
Today, I have a lot to show for my parents resolve to educate me, in spite of all barriers.
Unfortunately, there are many girls in my community who cannot afford to dream for a better tomorrow .For some, its ignorance, capsuled in culture and traditions, while for some, its poverty.
The greatest challenge confronting girls in my community accessing education is the culture and tradition that places the girl child less a human being than the male child.
Right from delivery of the girl child, she is faced with gender discrimination. First, is the mother who is literally jeered at for given birth to a baby girl. The baby is referred to as a ‘thing’, not human. When asked of the sex, the answer is ‘it was a miscarriage’! or she has a prostitute. Unfortunately, the insults get so bad, that the mother laments the arrival of her baby, a baby girl!
These are some of the retrogressive comments that later manifest in the life of the girl child when she is denied access to education, a development tool. A popular saying against women in my community, states ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’. The life of a woman in my community is tied to how much she can contribute to the family in terms of domestic chores, farm produce and child bearing. What level of self-esteem and values will this mother bequeath to her girl child? What a model for the girl child!
Poverty also hinders girls’ access to education. But, it all boils down to male child preference. A father would rather buy seven goats, bags of sorghum for local brew and some modern alcoholic drinks, to celebrate his son’s passage to adulthood, than to pay his daughter’s fees.
Girls’ education is one of the most effective ways of ending poverty in developing nations. Unfortunately, my community is yet to fully come to terms with the situation which has resulted in early marriage, population expulsion, high infant and child mortality rates, high maternal mortality rates, high HIV/AIDS prevalence and low number of women with jobs and higher earnings.
There has been some improvement in girl child enrolment in primary and secondary school in the past 5 years, but, the dropout rate is still about 40% in secondary schools.
With the community based advocacy put in place, we hope for change, we long for that day when our children will be judged not by their physical characteristics, but, by their abilities and proven integrity.
I AM FIRST A HUMAN BEING, AND THEN A GIRL CHILD…..LET ME FLY.

Comments

Dear Murya'n,

YES, it is your right as a Human Being and Woman to be FREE, LEARN, LIVE with RESPECT & DIGNITY.

Thank you for raising awareness to the serious gender discrimination and human right violations against girl children and females. I believe in your vision and dedication to eradicate the injustices that exist within your community against the girl child and your advocacy to speak up and lead by example makes an important difference. Your own story of educational access began with your parents believing in you and the value of girls as intelligent, successful members in society are cornerstones of hope and source of inspiration. One family at a time, grows to two, three and more.

Is it possible to start a mentor program from a grass roots level - your parents mentor other parents and you mentor young girls and women. It is not easy to change peoples belief and value systems. Addressing the socio-economic issues are critical to make some headway. You may be interested in checking out my Kenyan sister's program which incorporates economic opportunities while building educational opportunities. You can check out her website and dialogue with her if interested. http://www.mwanzoproudfarmers.org/about/our-programs

I LOVE your statement, " I AM FIRST A HUMAN BEING, AND THEN A GIRL CHILD . . . . LET ME FLY". I and World Pulse family and friends are cheering you and the girls/women in your village to FLY. We are here to support you every step of the way. Keep up your good work, your voice, heart, mind and spirit are felt deeply.

I look forward to reading more of your work!

With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Thank You, Dear Murya'n

Dear Murya'n,

Thank you for this magnificent piece of work. Your voice is strong and full of intelligence and you clearly have a view of the big picture, that is, the overall, larger problems which lead to the countless ways in which girls in your community and your country are subjected to gross injustices.

My first wish for you is that this particular piece will be widely read on World Pulse. Next, I am sending hopes for your ongoing success in speaking out to make the world -- so torn apart and grievously injured -- a better place.

You have put much effort, compassion and thought into this Week 3 assignment, and all of us who read it will learn a great deal.

Keep on, Murya'n !

With Respect and Gratitude,

- Sarah

Pushpa Achanta's picture

Positive writing

Dear sister,

I'm inspired by your narrative. Please share more about your work.

Warmly,
Pushpa

jam_them's picture

Zero tolerance for exploitation

My dear Pushpa
Thanks for your encouraging words.I have two projects at the moment.
1.FAIR TRADE FOR RURAL WOMEN FARMERS
This i have identified as being core to alleviating poverty for women in my community.Women in my community are farmers.Even those that have are civil servants or have other paid jobs engage in farming,especially dry season tomato farming.Due to poverty, more than 70% of women farmers get their fertilizer and other farm inputs from middlemen on loan... of course with interest! They are also obliged to bring the farm produce to the middlemen to sell for a commission.This is apart from what the middlemen make for selling to final buyers .At the end of the day,it is the middlemen that benefit from the sales and the women remain poor.
To curb the menace of the middlemen,we raise funds for the fertilizer.This gives the women more money ,because they decide their prices and no commission for middlemen.It has so far worked well.So at the moment we are doing a lot of fundraising activities ,one which i will post on World Pulse.Having more funds means more rural women will be financially free.
2. Improving Maternal Health..My State,Plateau,has very difficult topography, making it difficult to access medical attention in emergency.And again some clinics are within reach,but,not efficient in terms of structure and services.This has caused high infant and maternal mortality.This also is the main cause of Vesico Vagina Fistula,VVF.VVF diseases makes the victim leak urine uncontrollably.Can you imagine yourself leaking urine for just few hours?Well we have had a woman that leaked for 40yrs!! and is now healed.Thanks to the free surgical services at the Evangel Hospital,VVF Centre ,in Jos ,Nigeria.
My project is to identify areas with difficult terrain and mobilize communities to reflect on the need to built a functional clinic.And also for those that are dilapidated.
I will post full details in my journal soon.
Thanks for commenting.I am encouraged.

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