MARY, 16 YEARS OLD
It’s been about a year since I was last in school. Now I sell water in the market to help get a little money for me and my family.
I was going to school before but my mother died. My father is in the village and he doesn’t support my schooling. Now I’m being looked after by my granny but she doesn’t support me in school either. Now I go out and sell in the market here just to have a little money. Maybe I can earn a little for myself to buy small things like shoes or clothes.
Education is so good for girls. If I was able to get educated, I could do better things and become a better person. I want to go to school but I just don’t have the chance.
When I’m out of school I feel bad. I see my friends going to school and that hurts because I can’t go with them. I see them going out to learn and I just sit here and sell.
If parents can’t look after their child and help them be in school then girls especially will suffer. They’re more at risk from men and might even get pregnant. And if they’re not educated, their own children will suffer because they’ll be no one to look after them properly. They should listen to girls and give them what they need to stay in school – fees, transport, something for lunch and most of all encouragement.
If a girl’s family isn’t able to send them to school, if I had the power, I wish I could pay for them myself. I’d give them advice and encourage them to stay there because that’s so important.