Views: 853 Ishmael A. Junourgh, Nadowli, UWR, Nov.12,2018, Mon, 4:00pm Some deprived poor girls at Duong Community in the Nadowli-Kaleo District of th...
Ishmael A. Junourgh, Nadowli, UWR, Nov.12,2018, Mon, 4:00pm
Some deprived poor girls at Duong Community in the Nadowli-Kaleo District of the Upper West Region are begging for funds to go to school. The situation is evidence of gender and poverty-driven-prejudice against the vulnerable.
The girls said they were in need of money to buy items—such as books, pens, sandals, uniforms, menstrual pads, panties, examination fees, and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) dues—yet in the midst of their right to access education.
But, the Children’s Act, 1998 says “the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration by any court… (1) No person shall deprive child access to education.” Also, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 “ensures inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
On the other hand, this platform observed that the boy-child, in the community, does not experience such. The inequality gap between the two is therefore apparent and perpetuated by gender bias.
Most of the girls had dropped out before they attained 15 years as a result of either early-marriage or reinforcement of forced adoption for marriage—no lesser of the two evils though.
But when contacted at her office, the Nadowli-Kaleo District Chief Executive (DCE) Hon. Kate Lankono admitted the situation and that she had already asked a group to get her the number of the victims so that she could churn out interventions to address the canker.
Meanwhile in a 20-member in-depth group discussion at the community on the subject matter, ten girls were confirmed as victims of the two evils, and those girls were now screeching and grunting for help—from wherever it may come from—to turn around their fortunes in life as they have now realised at last that education is still the key and also knowing that they had dropped out of school for cultural and poverty-driven-prejudice orchestrated by their society.
For example, an 18 years old Junior High School (JHS) form two Gbala Theodosia canno longer bear the difficulty she and her mother had to go through to raise money for her basic needs whiles she stayed in school and so she had to stop a few months ago.
Theodosia now has been helping her mother to brew ‘pito;’ local beverage for sale but the patronage is very low and they can barely afford sandals, uniform, books, pens and examination fees for her to stay and complete school, as a result, she is forced to stop attending.
Her biological father is late and her mother remarried to a brother of her late husband—a cultural practice among some Dagaba clans of the Upper West Region. This is to ensure that the deceased family is well protected and provided for, but in Theodosia’s case, poverty is having a heavy toll on the family.
She is the fourth of six children. ‘My senior siblings are not working, we take care of ourselves,’ she said.
She had wished to become a nurse in future, but per the prevailing circumstances; she now seems to condemn to the fate of forced adoption for marriage if any intervention does not come her way fast to go back to school.
Poverty is not a toll on only Theodosia and her mother in the community, but a 30-years-old Madam Sunmankon Eletah with her five children too depends on the only 2GH₡ on fish-for-soup for a whole week. The woman relies on her farm grown vegetables like okro, pepper and bitter-leafs; and cereals like maize, millet and sorghum for meals as a subsistence farmer.
Otherwise, she could have paid to have her shea-nuts milled at the grinding machine for extraction of the butter, and not be grinding the nut on a stone like in the Stone Age, when a reporter of this platform met her.
30-years-old Madam Sunmankon Eletah grinding shea-nuts on a stone at Duong community
Similarly, 13 years-old Ambala Rita who lives under the care of her two uncles is now also a dropout. She was in form two at the Duong Junior High School (JHS) when she was raped, impregnated and the situation forced her out of school.
Narrating her ordeal on that evening, she had returned after night studies from the school at 9 P.M. and on her way attending to nature’s call at nearby bush she was attacked and raped by two men she could not identify. She later realised she had become pregnant, and that forced her out of school. After weaning the child, she now wants to go back to school but there is no money to buy her basic needs.
Also, a 16 years old form two Esong Gladys was under the care of her mother, and her grandfather. She got pregnant and as a result, dropped out. She is now 16 and has given birth to a baby girl but her mother is fighting for her to continue her education. When a reporter of the Bridge news visited Gladys, her angry adopter-husband assaulted her in public glare for attracting so much attention to him. l left there feeling insecure of the poor who seemed to be in the “stupor of love.” She said she had wished to continue her education but fear and dread of her illegitimate husband would not permit her. The rest of the girls this outfit found as victims in the area have similar stories.