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A worthy legacy

My father would say that “education is the only worthy legacy a parent can give his children”. He would say giving a child the tool with which he or she can make a living and provide for her future is the ultimate gift from a parent to the child. I believe this should be the thought of every parent and government irrespective of gender. The importance of education in the society cannot be underestimated as it provides life skills that will enable its recipient flourish in life. It equips children with the skills to maintain a healthy and productive existence, to grow into resourceful and socially active adults. I have seen the bleak look in the eyes of friends and family who weren’t encouraged to pursue their dreams. My first grief was when a close friend in primary school had to discontinue her education due to lack of funds. Statistics state that more than 60% of Nigerians live on less than a dollar per day; poverty is a barrier to girl child education which can also encourage early marriages. My uncle believed that spending money on a girl child was a fruitless effort as she is destined to end up in a man’s house. His belief is founded on age long tradition that the only learning and thinking a girl requires is how to please her husband especially in the kitchen. He believed that a girl would not be able to do house chores as required for a girl being prepared for marriage if allowed to attend school and so he refused to sponsor the education of his daughters. The belief that a girl’s only earth mission is to reproduce is a very strong challenge especially in this part of the world. A girl is being trained that her duty lies first to her husband; this was the case of an aunt who was married off at the tender age of 14. At the age of 23, she was already a mother of five then fate took an unfortunate turn on her when her husband suddenly died leaving her with the burden of catering for five children without any skills. Many women in different communities are faced with the difficulty of catering for more than four children without means and skills, education would have bridge this gap as much as possible. These women are forced to engage their children especially the girls in child labor, by giving them out to work as house maids at very tender ages. It is imperative to know that failure to educate a girl-child will only result in a vicious cycle of poverty as it is only an educated mother that is more likely to enroll her children in school. A girl-child can also encounter difficulty in her pursuit of education. This was the case of a colleague during our tertiary education. The fact that a parent can afford to send a girl to school doesn’t put an end to the challenges she will face, it has only reduced the intensity. Toyin, as she was known, became the object of affection of a lecturer in the department which she disregarded but the lecturer resulted to forceful means to ensure her cooperation. He had threatened that unless she succumb she would never pass his course; at the first, she regarded the threat as mild but soon came to realize that he was true to his words after several failed attempts at the course. It took the demise of the lecturer to liberate her from his hateful clutch. This is one of the problems girls tackle in some learning institutions in the country; aftermath of such treatment will only reduce a girl’s self-worth. Although a woman is not equally respected as her gender counterpart, it is even worse for an uneducated woman. A male friend told me that he’d rejected the affection of a girl because she was not educated. This humiliation continues in marriage where an uneducated wife is denied equal right and respect in the family. In order to achieve measurable development in any society, it is important to educate the girl child; because the knowledge and empowerment of one woman can bring about a change in a family and the society as a whole. So the solution to a myriad of problems faced especially by Africans is the education of women. It is important that women are viewed as respectable members of any community and not as sex-objects or reproducing agents. We are the future of every community and it is important that every woman is adequately equipped with the instrument called education so that she can nurture a future of peace effectively.

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

mjose3's picture

The girl child

The problem of not educating the girl child happens in India too. People consider it a waste to spend money on a girl's education. The mentality has to change.

Lisa

seunaboy's picture

we are still underdeveloped

Hi Lisa

I believe this problems is more prominent in developing countries considering our low education rates
but we will add to the efforts already on ground to change the future of girls in our developing communities

change is very important

Oluwaseun

Jan K Askin's picture

Altering belief systems

Dear Seunaboy,

How fortunate you were to have a father so dedicated to educating his children, male and female. Unfortunately, it appears that the prevailing belief system in Nigeria assigns little value to sending girl children to school.

How did your father develop his progressive views about girl's education? How could those views become more widespread? To achieve universal access to female education, the barriers you identify must be overcome, and certainly cultural beliefs are one of the highest barriers.

Thank you for raising your voice.

Your sister in the US,

Jan

Jan Askin

Hi Jan,

My father perspective was shaped by the ordeals he went through to educate himself without the help of his parents
and decided that even if he isnt rich enough to leave us earthly inheritance such as money or houses, he would give us tool to have them all someday. he is a very good man though still african in some ways but very liberal

i communicate this view everywhere i am opportune to talk to men church or otherwise. i tell male friends that i could level up with them cos my father knew i had potentials in me.

It is very important that women everywhere be of one accord to fight this menace in our communities

talk and be heard one day is very important and that is the spirit i have found here

thanks for the comment

Oluwaseun

Jan K Askin's picture

Many thanks

Greetings Sister,

Many thanks for sharing more with me about your family. i continue to discover numerous ways in which my parents influenced me and ways to be grateful to them.

Jan

Jan Askin

CamilaFMScialla's picture

Changing Perspectives

Seunaboy,

You're absolutely right. If a society's perspective doesn't change, than change will never take place. It's such a critical component of getting more girls into school and it does begin in the home. You're so lucky to have a father that encouraged your education and more people, organizations, governments and parents need to have that perspective. Thank you for sharing your story!

- Camila

Camila

seunaboy's picture

he never had my luck

hi Camilla
my father's dad died when he was eight so he couldnt attend which made progress slower n harder to get. that's one of his reasons, he says he isnt rich but he leave us with tool to have a bright n happy future.
its time we esp here in nigeria look inside and start a revolution for a better tomorrow for all. that i will do as much as possible.
thanks for the comment.

Oluwaseun

Hello

This sentence "education is the only worthy legacy a parent can give his children" - add in "values" and I think this is such a true statement. Like others before me have commented, I think you are really fortunate to have a father who thinks this way.
It is society at large that also needs to have this mindset...Oluwaseun, what do you think would be some concrete ways to change the mindset of society to promote female education? How to spread the message that when girls are educated, everyone benefits?

Thank you for sharing!

Carpe Diem

seunaboy's picture

starts with us

hi Hemrajan
i believe the key lies in a liberal mind. i believe women are the only key that unlock the future. as mothers teach them its importance as sisters let them understand as wives do your best to tell them as friends touch their lives and let them know how good and better it is education.
thats community-mind-changing network.

thanks
seun

Activechica's picture

One girl child at a time

Hello Seunaboy ~

Thank you for sharing the challenges faced by both educated and uneducated women in Nigeria today. Your examples of how the education of girls and the financial independence of women will strengthen, rather than undermine Nigerian families and society, are good ones. Slowly but surely your voice will be joined by others in Nigeria so that the old ways of gender inequality will be a thing of the past. Is there a supportive network of people who help girls another to overcome these challenges?

Carry on and keep spreading your wisdom ~
Leslie

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