Yes you can!!!
It all started with a movie I saw. I saw rockets and learnt that they could take you to the moon. So I decided that when I grow up I was going to be an engineer, build my own rocket and then go to the moon.
As I grew older I realized that it was more than a dream that I needed to become an engineer, I had to be excellent at school, I had to overcome gender stereotype, turn a deaf ear to my communal expectation, remain focused and on top of that have the money to pay for my college fees. People said engineering was a man’s thing, they said it was very tough and if I made it through college nobody would be willing to employ a woman to do a man’s job. This is part of my life story, most girls especially those from rural areas go through worse than what I went through. For them education is a privilege not a right.
I see poverty and lack of exposure as the greatest challenges girls confront in my community to accessing an education. Although primary school education in Malawi has been free since 2009 there still is a shortage of classrooms and qualified teachers with an un conducive school environment for girls. On top of that parents still need to meet other non tuition costs such as school materials, uniform, school fund and other basic necessities, considering an environment where men are still viewed as superior compared to women poor parents in the face of scarcity of resources are forced to choose between educating a girl child or a boy child and eventually it’s the girl who is left out.
Most girls do all the domestic work, culturally a girl must fetch the water, collect the firewood, cook, do all the washing and even sweep the compound while her male counterpart plays around and does nothing. In such an environment the girl is already tired by the time she gets to school. In fact she gets little moral support from her parents who believe that women get married and are taken care of by their husbands so no need to work hard in school. With so much responsibility and zero support from home, a poor learning environment and a culture that gives a low self a esteem a girl can barely stay in school. Unfortunately for the many girls it led to early marriages, these are marriages where the woman stays home and does nothing. When she is abused, she still stays because she doesn’t know how she will feed her children if she leaves as such domestic violence is common. So many women are forced to stay with unfaithful husbands just because they provide for them as such HIV /Aids cases are on the increase.
For me when people told me that I couldn’t make it, some people still believed in me and encouraged me to push forward and not to give up .I remember in secondary school we could have career talks with female role models and all that made me to work hard and to believe in myself and that’s how I overcame my barriers.
And that’s why I think motivation talks can change things. Even though nobody cares at home, I can still talk to that girl in school and tell her I did it why can’t she?