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Balancing the Equation of Girls' Access to Education in Sudan

According to internal displacement monitoring centre the number of internally displaced persons in Sudan in 2010 was 4, 5 Million persons and that was before the escalation of war in Blue Nile and South Kordofan region.
Basic education is a right guaranteed by Sudan interim constitution of 2005, unfortunately there is no law that enforcing the provision of basic education or prohibiting the lack of it for both boys and girls.
Girls’ education in the IDP areas around Khartoum, taking Alfath town as example where there is one basic school managed and run by only 4 teachers to observe and teach 8 classes of basic education. In each class there are 120- 140 students. A displaced woman living in Alfath testified that “I know my children are not getting any benefits from going to school, but I keep sending them there because it’s better than leaving them alone in the house while I’m working. I’m sending them to school to keep them away from the crimes happening in the streets.”
In IDP camps in Darfur, because of the war there is a high percentage of school drop outs. Nonprofit organizations tend to open literacy classes and school dropout classes as the government for the whole 10 years of was in Darfur has not taken the issue of education seriously. A nonprofit organization working in South Darfur was running 6 classes for the dropped out girls in the IDP camps around Nyala, providing education to more than 500 young women and girls. The organization was suddenly closed down in 2012 without any explanation from the security service in addition to banning other organizations from running those classes inside the camps. Taking into account it is very dangerous in Darfur for girls and women to leave the camp for collecting wood or bringing water, it became impossible for those girls to get an education outside the camp.

In Khartoum and other states of Sudan, child abuse and rape has become a phenomenon. A volunteer lawyer testified that a 9 years old girl from Soba IDP area was raped by a man living in a nearby fancy neighborhood. He kidnapped her while going back from school; videotaped the rape and threatened her that he will send it to her family if she dared to speak. When her mother knew about what is happening to her and filed a case against him, most of their neighbors and people in the area were saying it is not possible to a rich man to abuse a poor black girl, as he can get any woman and the girl is lying and trying to abuse him for money.
For such a reason many child abuse cases remain away from courts and justice has never been achieved to the victimized children. Furthermore many families tend to keep their girls away from schools fearing of the abuse, taking as example a case happened in Kosti, where a driver who used to pick two sisters to their school, and abusing the elder sister at the age of 12. All the families in Kosti tend to drop their girls out of school to avoid such incident, The 12 years old girl was jailed while the adult driver is moving freely as he received a sentence of leaving Kosti to another town for a whole year.
Apparently barriers to girls’ access to education are sexual violence and rape, the lack of state commitment towards education and making Sudan a safe place for girls to grow and live. Girls in IDP area are coming from female headed households; mostly their mothers are street vendors working on selling tea and food and face harassments and violent police ambushes daily. Displaced women have no choice rather than working as street vendors to feed their families because most of them they haven’t get a proper education and they have limited employment and business opportunities. Hindering their girls’ access to education will only increase the numbers of women with limited opportunities of working/ earning a living.
The solutions are being made by the communities. Education movements like “Education without boarders” are working on improving the schooling environment in the IDP area and poor communities across Sudan by providing seats, books, stationeries and spreading the values of volunteering and how it can make a difference in the lives of many people. Women rights groups and volunteer lawyers are working on raising the awareness of communities by sexual violence against women and girls and encouraging victims to seek justice by taking perpetrators to courts, in addition to advocating for women friendly law reforms. Youth political movements are advocating for regime change and building a state of equality, peace and justice, where all the people are enjoying their rights and freedoms.

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

ola.mahadi's picture

well stated

Sad facts but there is a room for hope since we still care and working for change.
Keep writting girl
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

Yosra Akasha's picture

Ola, good to hear from you

Change will be achieved as long as we are still working for it, will keep writing as long as it will influence change.

P.S. missing you sister, and good to meet you here :)

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Thank you very much for the well written article, you clearly pointed out the challenges women face to access education "safely", the situation in Darfur and the Crackdown on civil society should be faced not only by advocacy campaigns but also by creative strategies of sustainability, those programs should be protected by the communities itself so people will be enable to challenge such closings.
engaging men to combat such practices of child rape could be very interesting and valid strategy.

Keep the excellent work

be the change

Walaa Salah

Indeed Walaa, legitimacy is not obtained from security service or governmental bodies rather than communities.
Men and boys should be allies on advocating against sexual violence as it is affecting the whole community not women as individuals only.

Thankd for passing by and emphasizing on those points. Sudan will be better place because of us.

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

ayodele emefe's picture

Hello Yosra Akasha, Thank you

Hello Yosra Akasha,

Thank you for sharing this story with us. For a community like Alfath, the challenges they face in ensuring qualitative education for girls are no doubt great. You have done very well by speaking out on the issue through world pulse and I believe that there would be solutions soon as many organizations and individuals will read your story and assist in bringing about changes to this region.

what role are you playing or do you hope to play in being part of the solution to improve the situation in your community?

cheers,

Ayodele

"You are a champion and a hero. Do not think yourself any less"

Dear Ayodele,

Thank you very much for going through the story and thinking about solving this problem. I'm really appreciating the opportunities that world pulse offered to us.
My role in improving my community is speaking out loud of our problems and trying to figure out solutions as well as advocating for human rights.

Best regards,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

amandamarie's picture

Hi Yosra, Thank you for

Hi Yosra,

Thank you for speaking up and being a voice for so many who are unable to have a voice. I would be interested in hearing about what you think some possible methods for change would be, and ways those methods could be implemented.

All the best,
Amanda

Dear Amanda,

Thanks for your interest on knowing about possible methods for change and their implementation. I think the first thing to start with is speaking out about rape and sexual violence. In my opinion girls education and their safety is something should be granted by laws and state measures. The possible methods to remove girls access to education barriers are to advocate for law reforms to ensure further protection for women and girls in addition to increasing the state's expenditure on education. Claiming rights under military repressive regime like Sudan is simple considered as opposing to the ruling regime. I'm convinced that the regime that failed to provide the basic services of health and education to its citizens for more than 24 years while spending over 70% of the total annual budget on the army ans security services is not willing to improve these services provision.

I think local communities like Alfath need to gain more skills on advocacy. They need to know and claim their rights.

Best,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

CamilaFMScialla's picture

Change

Thank you Yosra for sharing this information and these clear examples of how education is being hindered by sexual harassment and violence. It's good to see that communities are working to create change especially since they know best what changes their communities need.

Camila

Yosra Akasha's picture

Indeed

Communities are the change makers.

Thank you Camila

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Aysha Ibrahim's picture

Hope

Yosra I can understand the situation you have mentioned in your article as I am working for IDP's in our country so I am well aware of their problems and its same in my country as well.

you are right in saying "Girls in IDP area are coming from female headed households; mostly their mothers are street vendors working on selling tea and food and face harassments and violent police ambushes daily. Displaced women have no choice rather than working as street vendors to feed their families because most of them they haven’t get a proper education and they have limited employment and business opportunities. Hindering their girls’ access to education will only increase the numbers of women with limited opportunities of working/ earning a living".
Actually its a chain that is going from generation to generations.Parents illiteracy is major root cause that suffer whole generation. Hope our work for betterment improve the situation and enable us to break this chain of illiteracy and to educate our coming generations.

Yosra Akasha's picture

Dear Aysha

We Should break the chain of illiteracy and poverty, I'm sure we will succeed.

Best,

Yosra Akasha, Sudan

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