Female Bonding -The Solution.
2013 VOF WEEK 3
Female Bonding - The Solution
The girl-child by nature is vulnerable to all manner of abuse and violence especially in the formative years of her life. Statistics have shown that between 7-8 girls out of 10 are often taken advantage of before the age of 18 mostly by family members and a few unknown persons.
About five years ago precisely, one beautiful morning, i came across a young lady about 18 years old who requested to meet with me.
She was standing outside the gate of the building in which i live in. She had with her a mini travelling bag which suggests she had just arrived from a trip or probably was about to embark on one. She looked so tired with thick layers of bag rings underneath her eyes. I figured out that she needed help. But the type of help she needed was what i had no clue into. On a second thought, i thought of dismissing her so i could have my peace. But i couldn’t because it isn’t in my character to do such and if i did, i would have lost my peace anyway. So, i invited her into the house.
Her name is Amarachi from the eastern part of Nigeria. She was brought to the city by her late aunt after completion of her secondary school at age 16 to further her education. Upon her arrival in Lagos, she was converted into a maid, nanny and baby-sitter taking care of her aunt’s children. While she was doing this, she had been sexually violated by her Uncle severally and had threatened her never tell anyone about it. Unfortunately, the sad event of her aunt’s demise occurred and this launched her into another phase of sexual harassment which she was not ready to continue; especially after having been through 3 sessions of abortion for her Uncle.
To cut a long story short, she has been adopted by a family in the church. She has since gone back to school and is doing wonderfully. I see her regularly.
Most of the girls we see around in our communities most of the time perhaps may need us to give them a listening ear, a piece of advice and counsel that may help in shaping their dreams. This has been my major vision to the girls around. Until you hear them out, you can never know what is going on in their little worlds. So, i love to give every girl an opportunity to be heard before taking any step of action.
Most of the girls i see around in the community i live in are faced by diverse barriers ranging from; Cultural- obnoxious practices like female circumcision, Social- early marriages, Emotional – low self-esteem, lack of confidence, Economic constraints- poverty, religious and environmental. These barriers manifest in various ways and at different phases of their lives.
Speaking from my knowledge of faith-based organisations approach, we provide scholarship for most of such children through active participation in the Sunday school. Furthermore, we adopt each of such girls and give them a life-time opportunity to live a better lifestyle.
However, the major challenge confronting most girls in my community is access to funding. A great number of girls excel in their examinations only to discover that their parents cannot afford to foot the bills.
Cultural biases and socio-economic barriers are two major factors that prevent young women from accessing education in my community.
Our cultural believes and values vary and these go a long way to also affect our associations especially in accessing education. These cultural values could be lifestyle, mode of dressing and manner of conduct. Besides, the financial status of the family is a determinant factor.
Most of the time, the aftermath effect or impact of these barriers, are usually a low self-esteem, lack of confidence, inferiority complex and peer pressure. These equally have their toll on the recipients.
Most of us as well as others were able to overcome these barriers through the following way:
In the situation of economic constraints, where a family was unable to off-set school bills, the entire community or other family members contributed to assist a child at a time.
Talking about cultural and environmental factor, most of us went to missionary schools then. These type of schools were affordable and most of the children enrolled into such schools were from average families that were very conscious of their background and beliefs.
However, the fact still remains that our mothers joined several cooperative societies and saved monies for us to go to school.
We need each other to make things work out for us all!