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My lovely hair... (And our Education system)

hair.jpg

Once upon a time there was a little girl with lovely hair but one day a brutal monster came and torn out chunk of her hair. Knowing girls love for hair you can imagine the pain but I have felt it because that little girl was me.

In class 5, once I was unable to bring my homework on time cause of fever. My teacher angrily threw my copy and asked: why late work? I made an innocent face for excuse but without listening it, she dragged me and pulled my hair, in split second huge chunk of my hair was in her hand. I backed to home with tears. I was so upset and was unable to confront anyone even not a mirror. I was confused what to do I thought that if I don’t raise voice then she would harm me more and if I don’t go back to school then other girls would suffer same inhuman behavior. That made me up I decided to take a stand. Next day I talked to principal and shown my hair but she tried to hush me up. Then I asked for support from my class. When I raised voice, all other students who faced same violence also stood up with me. Our joint voices compelled principal to expel that ugly brutal teacher. It was lesson for all teachers resulted in positive changed in their attitudes not with me only but with others as well and they started treating me like princess.

It was me in thousands who raised voice but there are many who stop going to school after such incidents. It proved major barrier in accessing education along with others like poverty, customs, lack of awareness, threats, gender-inequality, government policies, limited schools and so on.

We can’t focus on all issues but I will like to highlight the major ones. Beside girls reluctance issue cause of teachers ill-treatment, there is one opposite scenario where girls wants to go to school but their parents don’t cause of poverty and cultural-barriers. Their stereotype thinking that girls education is pointless or their excuse that we can’t afford or if we send our daughters to school then who will help us in earning? It happens mostly in our rural/tribal areas where female literacy ratio is drastically low. But despite of cultural barriers, there were some girls who were studying and their parents were also concerned for their education, couldn't continued their studies cause of floods and operations which destructed those few schools already existed in the area. Government/NGOs are rehabilitating but this is not the only solution.

Our 90% barriers can overcome by “speak, spread and change” speak to highlight these issues spread them to bring them into notice and bring change by immediate actions. More we communicate and raise awareness more we will able to unlock the solutions. Apart from raising voice there is need of sensitization to teachers, students, parents and authorities. Let them aware of their responsibilities by taking sessions with teachers for quality education and to equip them with teaching techniques, by educating girls on their basic rights, by mobilizing parents to pull them out of their stick to custom mindsets and by dealing gently with children to identify the reasons of not going to school then raise these reasons for solutions. To cope with poverty, children can be provided with cash-incentives but better is to provide cash-for-wok opportunities to their parents with awareness to stop child labor. Let them realize value of education that it’s a most rewarding investment for your future. Once education circle is developed it will keep evolving.

So instead of regretting on current education flaws, it’s time to save our coming generations. Glad that we have digital media and platforms to speak on issues with awareness and solutions.

Join me to speak, spread and change. Be my loudspeaker to say no to violence and illiteracy.
Thanks God that I have now again same lovely long hair but my childhood incident is imprinted in my heart I don’t want that other children lose their pretty hair. I changed my school system so why not my country. I found the solution by raising voice so let’s try it again now I haven’t my school fellows only, I have people from all over the world. Let’s make parents realize that their children bright future is in their hands. Let’s make authorities realize to use their resources and power positively and let’s make teachers realize that they are role models our heroes please stop playing role of villains. Let’s unite to give a push to start this education vehicle to let it keep moving.

For revolution we just need a pen.. Enjoy the miracles

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
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Comments

ola.mahadi's picture

lets joint effort

That is very inspering story thabk you for sharing it Aysha and we can be the change.
Stay wellin sistehood
Ola

It is never too late to try make your way to your dream and left up your expectation.
Sudanes Women Building Peace
www.suwepmovement.org

Aysha Ibrahim's picture

my dear sister

my dear sister thanks for always being there

Abisinuola's picture

so brave aysha

Firstly I'm glad your hair has grown back and secondly,its a very brave thing you did,standing up for yourself regardless of the consequences!
I'm glad you effected a change,that's how change happens,not only in the big events but especially in the seemingly tiny ones.
Change I have discovered,is a lifestyle!
Love

Abisinuola

Aysha Ibrahim's picture

Thanks Abi

yes I believe "little things makes a big difference" thank you Abi! if you have noticed I always call you Abi I hope you don't mind it I love to call you Abi cute name :-)

RosemaryC's picture

Your thinking is so practical

Dear Aysha:

I really liked how you told your own story at the start, because it puts such a personal face on the problem you are talking about - teachers who are cruel, unkind, often violent to girls. You were so brave, in deciding to go back to school and stand up for all those all others who were too afraid to do what you were able to do. And now you are doing the same thing but in a wider venue and with a louder voice (and your hair intact :)
Apart from the importance of treating girls kindly, you also have listed some other reasons why girls don't stay in school, as well as solutions that can change this.
Your thinking is so practical in terms of how girls and their families can be helped, to create a 'win-win' situation.
I remember reading about a number of projects where donors gave cooking oil to families if they sent their daughters to school. What that meant was that the daughters came to have an economic value to the family, just as sons did.
I found a reference to how the World Food Program does this, although I don't think it is the story I was thinking about. See http://www.wfp.org/school-meals
Keep on raising your voice and encouraging others to do the same.

Best wishes,
Rosemary

Aysha Ibrahim's picture

Made my day

Thank you so much for your detailed and valuable feedback. Comment on my journal by such senior, experience and great personality really made my day. Your encouragement means a lot to me.
And yes you are right many organizations are giving meals and such other attractions to increase enrolment in rural areas. one example in Pakistan is "Zindagi trust” who running educational program called “paid to learn” where street children are enrolling and it works.
Hope we soon fight with education barriers and enjoy better tomorrow

wowitsjackie's picture

Brava

Hi Aysha,

Your bravery in this story moved me. Considering all the obstacles that girls face in trying to access education, abuse at the hands of a teacher would be for many the last straw. It took a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and others experiencing the same abuse. I applaud your philosophy of "speak, spread and change" and I hope it makes a difference for girls in your country.

In your current work, how are you continuing to promote girls education?

Thank you and keep writing!

Jackie

thank you Jackie for the appreciation. To overcome above mentioned barriers and accommodate out of the schools, and drop outs, our organization has established non formal schools in different villages with facilitation of suitable teachers and also provided basic teaching techniques training to them. Result was very positive and it was really great achievement that female ratio of enrolment becomes higher than boys in such backward areas. We also rehabilitated schools to put education back on track. Cash for work opportunities were designed for men and for women to support their family and their children can access education women were included in a way most appropriate with the traditions of the area by not compromising their cultural set up. This has overcome the challenges to some extend but many areas still need interventions and awareness in this regard. Apart from these activities I would like to keep writing on such issues to bring them into notice and find solutions and will keep spreading awareness. Again I will emphasize on my own formula Speak, Spread and Change.

CamilaFMScialla's picture

I Applaud You

Aysha,

I'm so glad you spoke up and realized that your voice was important. Sometimes it just takes one person to voice an injustice for others to come forth and take part in the change. Thank you for being this voice. I also loved hearing about the "speak, spread, and change" idea, which should absolutely be a part of any effort to create change.

Camila

Aysha Ibrahim's picture

Together we can

Thank you Camila for encouraging words for me. I am glad that you all are supporting me in creating change. keep supporting and stay connected. You are nice like your name :-)

Lyndsay's picture

Speak, spread and change

Aysha, what a moving story and powerful writing! The way that you take a personal experience and tie it to the bigger picture of issues of violence is schools and other barriers to girls/children's education is very effective. It's amazing that you experienced the power of collective action at such a young age and I can see how it impacted you. I love that your article is so solutions-oriented.
Keep up the great writing and I look forward to reading more!
Lyndsay

Aysha Ibrahim's picture

Many Many thanks

So many thanks to you. my purpose of writing will be serve if it motivates and inspire any one and change the current scenario. I am very hopeful that our collective voice and actions will improve our education system throughout the world.
keep reading my coming journals. your feedback is important for me.

Elizabeth Kipp-Giusti's picture

Thank you for your work!

Aysha,

Why do you think we love hair, and what about the politics of looking beautiful makes us spend so much time focusing on our appearance? I think it is difficult to read about your experience, particularly when I hear your pain in the words, but I am also interested to know how you felt about a female authority figure robbing you of your hair. Women perpetuating a lot of the culturally accepted abuses is an important issue to talk about, and I find that nowhere is it more tangible than when it comes to issues of aesthetics and beauty.

Also, why do you think the principal wanted to hush you up when you first approached her with your situation?

Thank you for writing! I enjoyed your work greatly.
All my best,
Elizabeth

Dear as we have words limitation so I couldn't highlight another major issue that is “references”. Teachers are mostly not well qualified and not eligible for posts but they are hired cause of strong references and the same was the case in my situation. Principle tried to hush me up because that teacher was hired on reference and it was not easy to expel her and it was also question of her school’s reputation so she tried to suppress this issue.
And in our culture girls’ hair is symbol of beauty and femininity so this is main reason that girls love their hair and I think violence in any form whether it’s targeted toward your beauty or health, whether physical or emotional it is agonizing and intolerable.
And yes it was very painful that female authority robbed my hair, being a woman she better knew and understood how women feel when they are abused but still she was perpetuating.
We always talk about violence against women by men but what about women who are involved in violence against women and men as well. Why it is ignored and getting less attention I think this is a serious issue needs to be addressed.

Thank you for your consideration and appreciation

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