Gloria was just 12-years old when she married a 35-year old man for the price of a single goat.
All her dreams of following a path to Freedom through Education in her homeland of Zambia, died on that day.
By the time she was 13-years old she had experienced widowhood and had given birth to her first child. (globalcitizen, 2017)
Custom dictated that on the death of her husband, Gloria would marry her brother-in-law and, still only a child herself, she endured such brutal domestic violence at his hands, she miscarried her second child.
This scenario is unthinkable in Western society, yet it is played out daily across sub-Saharan Africa where levels of poverty are so extreme mothers feel compelled to sell their daughters just to feed their families. This basic desire to simply survive sometimes drives unthinkable behaviour and is the bedfellow of poverty.
Poverty destroys any hope of opportunity, as vulnerable girls like Gloria are put at risk of sexual violence, HIV and early death.Their low status as females mean that boys are encouraged to engage in education while their sisters are left behind, without a voice to protest.
This means that Schools are Out for 130 million girls. (One.org)
How different would life be if education was placed at the heart of these girls’ lives?
Gloria was one of the luckier ones. Taken under the protective wing of Camfed (Campaign for Female Education) she is returning to school with her dreams of becoming the only female doctor in her district now a very real possibility. Her path in life seems much more secure. She will become an asset to the people in her area and the national economy. She is likely to have fewer pregnancies and her two children will enjoy better health and have more choice in how their own futures take shape. She will provide stability in her environment which will benefit everyone.
According to the ‘Poverty is Sexist Report’ by One.org (2017) the economic boost generated by educating girls could yield up to $152 billion to developing countries. To educate a single girl in Africa would cost less than a loaf of bread a day.
So how do we put these girls back into school and keep them there?
One of several solutions can be found in providing domestic and international funding for education with accountability around spending.
In a nutshell, what is needed to begin Change is:
High Quality Teaching
Organisations which campaign to implement strategies for change so that children like Gloria will have a better chance of a better life, are: