The road back to school

Aug 08, 2017
By Adama Ndaw; Edited by Leanna Cappiello 

​“I said to myself that the only way for me to get there was to return to school in the village,” says Codou, 12.

Codou was a student at the village school but stopped primary studies because her parents could no longer afford school expenses. They decided to send her away to a neighbouring city to work as a maid in a desperate effort to replenish family finances.

“I was doing the cooking, washing, [and] cleaning…sometimes baby-sitting too. All the while, my employers were in their offices and their kids at school,” she says.

For a while, she worked instead of attending class. Eventually, the injustice was made known to World Vision. A project was launched to keep girls in school and make access to education easier.

Some parents were a bit reluctant in the beginning because, for them, the place for women wasn’t at school, but inside the house. But after a campaign to raise awareness, many came to understand that this way of thinking was oppressive and stifling to women and girls’ potential.

Meanwhile, the World Vision program also stepped in to finance and develop income-generating activities for two women’s groups in the village. Codou’s mother says, “When the project got underway, I received some funding to help me start bringing in some income and pave the way for her return to the village. Since then I have been managing to meet the needs of my kids at school.”

In addition, an advocacy plan was put together to reduce the number of drop-outs in the future. This plan will require energy to implement the material and share it with students and their parents.

Codou was finally able to resume her schooling and succeeded in her entry exams for secondary school, she obtained her first end of year diploma certificate.

Now a more confident version of herself, Codou has become an advocate for girls’ education. “These days it’s me who writes and reads letters at home and I help my little brother to do his homework. I am more useful to my community,” she says. “I would like to become a doctor, minister or president.”

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