Fatu's story

FATU, 18 YEARS OLD

My father is a fisherman. But often he can’t catch anything. And the money that he had to put me through school gets used up. My parents haven’t been able to send me to school for more than two years.

Eventually I came to live with my granny. But she doesn’t support me through school either. Now I go out to sell and make a little money to eat when I can.

I feel bad because I see my friends in their uniform and I’m sitting in the house while they go to school. What they’re going to learn, I’m not able to learn. That’s the difference between them and me. They’re getting better every day and I’m out selling.

If girls don’t get to school and end up illiterate, then what are they to do? People can take advantage of that. If girls aren’t educated, it’s easy for people to take advantage of them – especially men. Men come around here looking for young girls and those that don’t understand will have a man offer them $1 to get something to eat and they’ll think: “Look at this! This is big money!” That’s how they take advantage. And girls in that situation could even get pregnant. Girls who can read or write won’t be taken advantage of like that.   

I wish I could be at school. I want to be somebody. My mind tells me I want to go far. I want to be doctor or a lawyer. But that’s high level. How can girls do that when they can’t even read or write properly? Those things are beyond the mind of an illiterate person. So it’s like that. How will I get there with what I know?

If I could change one thing to make sure girls were in school, I’d give them a scholarship and make sure they could go. And then, once they were there, I’d make sure they got encouragement. Because if someone does send their kids to school and then just leaves them there how will they get on? They need support; someone to make sure they’re doing well every minute and hour that they have. 

That's what I would change.