June 26, 2013
I take this opportunity to participate in writing the story about the girl child basing on my sister Grace Nshedde. She should be not what she is if our Ugandan culture had realised and promoted the rights of girls in a society. My sister ended in Senior two when she became pregnant by a married man who seemed to be supporting her future. In most cultures in Uganda, girls are produced on the mercies of mothers BUT most fathers do prefer boys. Even investing for wealth is backed by the presence of boys in the family. Families with girls only will not accumulate wealth through investment unless if it is realised by force. Once parents especially fathers see developing breasts of their daughters, they start negotiating for better families with dowries and thereafter they start frustrating the efforts of girls to stay at home.
They will start deliberately refusing to provide the necessities for the girl including providing clothes, cosmetics and failing to pay for school-fees so that when she is disgusted, almost walking around necked; she would start thinking of where to find support and henceforth deciding to marry.
Parents stop cautioning the girls about their social behaviours like going back home late, attending traditional parties, unnecessary visits to friends and relatives so that from there she is exposed to men who would take advantage of her. This has always rendered them to pre-marital pregnancies, marrying uncalled for polygamous men, men infected with incurable diseases like HIV/AIDS and traditional healers who sometimes sacrifices their wives for wealth accumulations.
Some girls who have persisted and acquired some reasonable education, when it comes to job appointments; some of them must sexually appreciate the employers before. Juicy jobs are not given to female employees. Most girls however much they are educated, they work as Receptionists at Front Offices or in stores, kitchens and packing areas among others. It is very rare to have female employees paid half of male employees.
The girls who have stayed in secondary schools remains objects of sex by fellow students and teachers as well since the future of girls is not admired. Generally girls are perceived as meant for sex games, producing kids, remaining home for household work.
So this kind of lifestyle for girls affected my sister Grace and upto now I have failed to forgive myself about her future that was compromised. Ten years ago when I joined Amnesty International, I started reading about the rights of girls and I admired and have now constantly talked about girl child and in my organisation I appointed a female staff to cater for girls interests in areas of education, health, financial empowerment.
We are being limited by resources to widen our advocacy activities and material support for those we are able to reach and support. If there is any call for that please encourage to redeem these girls rights through providing quality education.