Rural Women Speak on Education and Life

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26 year old Hawa Kileih and her baby_web.jpg

There are more Women and girls around Liberia that have not been opportuned to have basic education.

Despite the fact that other young women and girls have been able to benefit from the free and compulsory education scheme, many of them have not been reached in different parts of Liberia.

Opportunities such as the Free and Compulsory Education for all should not be limited to Monrovia or Counties with populated cities alone; but rather in the Conner’s of every County where life exits.

In order to ensure that every boy and girl has equal opportunity to education, the government of Liberia must remain committed to providing the basic schooling materials as well as school buildings in all areas where none are found. The GOL should not only focus on areas where there are no schools, but also places including villages and towns where schools are limited.

Not only women have been victimized when it comes to lack of education, some young men and boys also fall victims of the same situation. But mind you, not all the children we see roaming the streets, villages or towns do not have the opportunity to have education.

 They have decided to forget about education and join the economic hustle ahead of time.

If Liberia would reach a milestone in empowering and educating women, it is time all parties responsible revisit the drawing board and move out to rural Liberia and do what has to be done there.

There are still stories of violence against Women; there are still stories of assault and other issues violating the rights of women in our leeward Counties.

When the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) celebrated its World Press Freedom Day in Gbarpolu, Bopolu City, our W&F Desk was able to speak with some young women who came around to witness the occasion at the Bopolu City Hall.

The W&F Desk spoke with a couple of them.  Though they shied away at first, they later saw the need to explain some of the challenges they face as women in terms of education, public opinions and activities.

Hawa Kileih is a 26 year-old mother of 1, who has never sat in a classroom.

She said this is because her parents died during the civil crisis in the 1990s, and since then she stayed with people who didn’t agree to send her to school.  She had no option but to escape from Monrovia to Gbarpolu in search of a better life, she explains.

“After I stayed with those people for so many years, I noticed that they were not willing to send me to school so with the help of community dwellers, I ran away from them and came down here to Bopolu to see if I can start something little and go to school. But coming here was not as easy as I thought it would be. At first things became difficult for me until met my son’s father who is now helping me.

“I have always wanted to go to school, but no money and there are other fees that I will have to pay to go to school. My boy-friend has a little business that we depend on to pay for our room, eat, wear clothes and raise my school fees. I do not feel happy that I am this age and have not gone to school before and I must admit that I am not proud of that.

“I also realized that as a young woman, I need education so much; because these days, without education, nobody respects you and what you say. They will think you can’t make any sound decision in any situation.

“Even my boy friend, when I go wrong sometimes, he is brave enough to tell me that I am not his type and with time he will leave me. Those have been my motivations these days. Next semester I will enroll in the Bopolu high school, which is the only high school here. The school is so filled that I will not be accepted in the morning section, [but only] the night. And the School fee is not bad at all; at least I can cope with it. It’s only LRD$140.00 per semester and other fees attached to it make it maybe LRD$1,500.00 per semester”, she told this Observer Women & Family.

Everlyne Neyorh, 24, mother of three children, ages 3, 5 & 7, sells red oil in the market and is a middle-school dropout.

We also spoke to her at the same event. Everlyne once had the opportunity to go to school, but like most young girls in different parts of the world, she had to stop schooling because she got pregnant.

She also had her own story to share.

“Before I lost my father here in Bopolu, my father had a shop and he did his best to send me to school and I stopped in the 7th grade.

I was in school until I got pregnant for my first baby. My father still didn’t refuse to help me and my boy friend but shortly before I could give birth, he died of brief illness. My mother is old and she is managing the shop to take care of my younger ones. My boy friend’s parents didn’t have much to help so they gave me money to start up my oil business.

But [with] all I raised from the business, I had to care of my children, feed the home and we had to wear clothes. I have been able to send the first boy to school and he is now in the 1st grade at the Central High.

Whenever I talk about school, my boyfriend gets angry with me. He said that I already have three children and I can’t go to school anymore and, better still, he is not in school so he can’t use his money to send me to school.

So I may go to school one day but I don’t think it is now or soon because I am no longer alone.  I have people attached to me now so if I don’t go to school, [at least] they will go to school”, Everlyne said.

Like Hawa and Everlyne, 20 year-old Mimie Wah, mother of 1, is convinced that schooling is something difficult and which is not considering now.

Mimie told the W&F Desk that she stays with her mother who has a mini table in the local market around their area.

“My mother is selling and she is also taking care of my baby, but to go to school, I don’t think I am ready for that now because I am not a smart student at all. I tried going to school before but I failed a lot and since then I decided to drop after I gave birth to my daughter. I will think about going to school very soon but now I am not. I am trying to attend a trade school or something but sitting in classroom is not my area,” she concluded.

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