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I Honor a remarkable woman!!

I tell a story about my neighbor. She was the eldest of a family of 5, 4 girls and 1 boy. She is either my age or 1 year younger than me, but her exact birth date is unknown since she wasn’t born in a hospital. According to her father, girls are a waste of space. He wanted boys but he had only one son. He was abusive and never approved of her schooling and constantly beat his wife for sending her daughters to school.
Her father was a fisherman so he was always gone but whenever he came back and saw the girls going to school, he would instantly start beating her mother and they will have to stay at home until he’s gone. The girls would miss out maybe several months of school if he is home that long to the point where they would wish for him to go so that they can resume school.
The school was frustrated with this particular girl’s absence and suspended her for not attending regularly. Her mother could not take her to school because she was afraid of the beating she will receive. The girl came to my mom for help and she took her to the school to persuade the principal to give her a second chance.
My mother had tried many times to talk this man into letting the girls go to school regularly and even his educated brother tried but to no avail. “I do not have money to waste on their education” he always said.
The girl had to drop out before she finished middle school. With her mother giving birth every year the family size had grown to include 4 more boys. Her father had gone bankrupt and came home to live with his family. His savings run out and the family struggled to feed their family growing family size. Her mother opened up a small shop to support the family, and her business became a success. Now she was the sole breadwinner of the family. She was liberated and since she was not reliant on his income she refused to take beating anymore. Eventually, the beating reduced but the verbal abuse was his weapon now.
The girl stayed at home taking care of her 9 siblings and thought her only way to get out and have her own life was to get married. A very much older man seduced her and promised to give her a life far away from her dad’s constant abuse. She was scarred both physically and mentally and this man took advantage of her vulnerability and eventually left her after and he got her pregnant. She run away because she knew her father would definitely kill her when he finds out. She risked her life and took a route that killed many people and decided to migrate illegally towards Italy, but she was captured in Sudan and later was released with bail. She came back to the only place she knew, her family’s home.
She gave birth to a baby girl. Her father continued with his verbal abuse calling her baby a bastard and threatening to kill her and the baby. She would constantly guard her daughter and never went anywhere without her out of the fear that he might kill her baby.
Things changed now, and her sisters go to school regularly, because having the ability to earn her own money liberated her mother. Although, her father does not support the family anymore, however, her mother makes sure her children go to school with her income. Whenever she asks him to support his children he tells her to close down the shop, which is something she says will never do. Her business gave her freedom from his abuse, and freedom to educate her children. He can no longer intimidate her, no longer control her, and definitely no longer stop her daughters from attending school. The 2 elder daughters have missed their chance, but the younger 2 are in school, and one of them is graduating from secondary school and the other is in middle school. I honor this lady because she had the courage to change her life.
This is not a rare case but it’s similar to the stories of many young girls in Somalia. If it wasn’t for my mother, surely my story would not have been so much different from this one. My mother is educated; therefore she understood the importance of education. Whenever I ask her if she regrets not pursuing a career she says “Not for one bit. I chose to become a teacher for 7 children and I was successful at fulfilling my goal”. I honor my mother because she is my role model, my teacher, my mentor and certainly my hero.

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.
Learn more »

Comments

SamanthaKeller's picture

Powerful Determination!

Deqa,

The story of both your neighbor and her mother is incredible. I am inspired by her will and determination in starting her own business despite her husbands constant abuse. Her ability to look fear in the face and do whatever it took to save both her own life and the life of all of her children is remarkable. It almost giggled at the image of her husbands face when she said no, my children will be educated- girls too. How cool is that! It is amazing the power that education can bring to a woman despite her upbringing. Thank you so much for sharing both of their stories!

Deqa's picture

Many thanks

Thank you Samantha for reading my post and for your comment. It's amazing how a person can turn around and transform their whole life. There is so much power within us to transform our life no matter the obstacles and once she realized that there was no stopping her. Economic freedom allowed her to actually take control in the decision making process of the family.
I look forward to reading from you as well, I noticed that you joined WP recently welcome to this thriving community.
Love
Deqa

tiffany_anne's picture

So Inspiring

What a powerful story, thank you so much for sharing. I am so sorry to hear the difficult life your friend faced, but inspired by her mother's courage, and your mother's love and wisdom. Both sound like strong women, the kind of strong women we need the world-over to start changing things for the better, for all of us. Thank you again for sharing, and I wish you all the best!

Tiffanys

Deqa's picture

Many thanks

Thank you my dear for reading my post and commenting. I certainly agree with you that strong women are needed across the globe to shape the future of our communities. Women are surely the answer to so many societal problems. And once they are empowered they have the ability to solve problems and for my neighbor economic empowerment was the solution to her problems.
Again thank you for stopping by my dear.
Love
Deqa

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