2013 VOF Week 3: Motherhood The Beginning Of An End
Growing up, I witnessed a lot of things going on around me. I saw my cousin being married off at the age of 12 and dying during child birth because she went into labour at home and the women around her did not know what to do because they were naïve and waiting for the man to come home and take her to the hospital.
A couple of years later her sister and only daughter left, was also going to be married off but a relative intervened and took her in and put her in school. However, when she was in her third year at school, her mother put pressure on her and she ran away and got married. In her case, thank God she is still alive but she has three children and her husband is taking a second wife who is a bit more educated.
During the cause of events, I had classmates who got pregnant and were asked to leave the school with no story of the girls ever heard of again neither of the person who got them pregnant.Most often our various cultures, religion, and family background stand in the way of our progress thereby affecting our self esteem and future.
However, when the systems which are meant to protect its citizens also gets involved, and then the chances available become very slim. Students get a suspension from schools for burning the school bus or exam malpractice while some one gets thrown out of school because she had a baby. Does that make her an evil or bad person? Does this person deserve a second chance in life or not?
In the long run, most of these girls end up staying at home and getting pregnant again by a second or third and at the end if she is lucky, someone marries her to “save her” if not she lives a life without skills in a struggle to raise a child and may be unable to provide the necessary education which leads to a viscous cycle until a miracle happens and the chain is broken. More also, the society tags girls who get pregnant outside of marriage as an unstable woman. When I say society, I mean all of us because we are part of it and are constantly told not be like those bad girls who sleep around with boys making us constantly condemn. However, most of the time we may not know the true cause is pregnancy might be as a result of rape or poor mentoring.
Furthermore, in most cases the parents of the girls turn their daughter into maids in the house as punishment and feel they should not waste their money sending them back to school again or force her to marry the man who impregnated her which often does not end up well.
These events make me ask the question: what is wrong with the world, girls do not have a chance to progress in life just because of procreation? All these events go down to lack of education not just the basic English and Mathematics in schools but lack of guidance and counseling in schools as well as sex education highlighting the risks women go through from an early stage.
Nevertheless, I have seen one successful story of a girl who started to clean the streets after her parents gave up on her and was able to raise some money taking care of her son in the day time and attending a night school for adults and as a result, completed her secondary education 4 years later.
Therefore, I must say that there is hope even when the situation seems bleak. My goal in this case is to have the system change some of their rules in the long term. First of all, I would like to start by a research organizing coaching sessions to boost the self-esteem of girls in schools and create awareness for the boys and girls on sex education in schools.
I will further do some research on the girls who have been kicked out of school, make their stories heard and start a campaign that will hopefully influence the educational systems change their rules to see the importance of girls remaining in school than out of it.