MARIAM, WATERLOO

After this Ebola crisis, people didn’t want their children to go to school because they felt there was no guarantee that if their children went to school they would come back safe. Parents were afraid. But we talked with them and discussed the reality with them, encouraging them to allow their children to go to school.

At that time, I was working with a girl who lost both parents. She was so discouraged and never wanted to attend school again. I first met her in a market and she was sitting in her school uniform with her head in her hands. I asked her: “What’s the matter? Why aren’t you in school?”

“My sister – I am just desperate, I don’t want to be in school again. I have no hope. I‘ve lost my mom, I’ve lost my dad, through the Ebola crisis. So I don’t think school is important for me.”

I started visiting her. She was living at home and would put on the uniform every day but wasn’t going to school. She would just hang around. We discussed the importance of education, about how if she allowed herself to be educated, she could become what she hoped for in the future. She came to realize she could let the past be the past and look ahead to the future. All those tears she was shedding faded away.

Now she is back in school.

This is how social work can help girls succeed.