EDUCATION: SHATTERED DREAMS FOR GIRLS & WOMEN
I walk in a village at 10am with my normal errands of visiting my clients and getting to know how they are fairing on, it is a weekday and all children are in school because schools are not closed yet. Am met with a face of a down cast girl, I started asking myself questions, could she be sick? What could have contributed to her being in the house while all her age mates are all in school? I choose not to ignore but ask her to get a clarification. My worst fears are confirmed, she is sitting back to help her Mom to till the land and perform other household chores. Where are the brothers? They are all in school the Dad has told her that Men are better educated than women because a woman can find a husband so when there is no school fees she is the sacrificial lamb. That pains me a lot because the Mother had come to our organization for a facility to take the children to school but the husband took all the money and made his own decision. Am caught up in a two worse case scenario, the loan is not being serviced and the girl is not in school. What breaks my heart is that the mother is desperate and the daughter is desperate, her dreams are being shattered at a very young age. Africa…when will you ever adore your own seed…..A girl child and a Woman who brings forth the fruit to generations.
I stood there speechless, my mind hovering everywhere. Reminding me of my life as a child and how many times I missed school because I had to look after my siblings and do all the household chores simply because I was born a girl. At times I would cry myself out because exams were around the corner and we didn’t have a single cent to pay for my school fees. I remember so many times praying and asking God if true I was meant to be born. I could not stand to see all my friends go to school and I was left in the house. So many things crossed my mind them days. I would see my other friends who were going through similar circumstances getting married at a very tender age because they thought that is where they will get attention. Others will get impregnated in the name of love and dumped by the same boys like trash. Sad, it happened to my three sisters, they were all impregnated and dumped. All their children stay with my mum because the fathers are no where to be found, while my sisters hustle with casual jobs because they never got proper education and those who tried there was no money to further their education.
The only thing that probably prevented me from this snare of boys was, when I noticed Dad was harassing my Mum and he was contributing to our poverty I sort of formed a negative attitude towards Men. I didn’t want to see any man around me; I thought they were all the same. But I thankfully as I trusted God he healed my heart and I forgave Dad and later got married to a good Man. Forgiving him didn’t not change my zeal to fight for the rights of a girl child and empower women. I wanted to become a lawyer and advocate for the rights of a girl child especially the right to a decent education. Unfortunately due to having missed school quite often I didn’t qualify to go to a law school. But that didn’t deter my dreams even for a moment. Thanks to Sabiha Founder VNOW and Jessica Founder WAI who have encouraged me to share my story and true to there word my story is my voice and I do not have to become a lawyer to advocate for women rights.
As I stand today as a victim of gender equality, rights of decent education abridged because of poverty and victim of discrimination by a mere reason that I was a girl. That gives me strength and confidence to empower a girl and a woman out there. To tell them not to give in to Men teasing words of love while in reality is exploitation and being used, to work hard despite the circumstances. I remember so many times we went without food but instead of making me feel bad it propelled me to work even more hard. Even during times that I was chased away from school, I will still go and close myself up when every body was a sleep and read. My parents did not have money to take me to college but have worked hard and saved some money and as write this am currently enrolled in a college though still not yet there because our last born sister finished her secondary school last year but we have not been able to raise her school fees for college yet because my Mum is still struggling with my young brother who is also in college. But I know my story will change, my family story will change, Kenyan girls stories will change, African girls stories will change and world girls stories will change. No doubt about that, because together we will change the stories and become the voice in our generation