Samuon’s father is gravely ill, and her mother passed away when she was younger. So the 13-year-old has taken on extra responsibilities to keep the household going. She goes to the market, cooks, cleans and fetches water for drinking. These tasks all cut into time that could be spent on playing or doing her homework.
Purity wanted to be a doctor or an accountant. “That dream is gone now,” she says. When Purity had sex with her boyfriend she didn’t know she would get pregnant – no one had told her. So when she did fall pregnant, she was pressured into getting married, drop out of school and care for her baby. “I really loved school,” she says.
Abit sometimes falls in sleep in class because she has an empty stomach. What’s worse, she has been skipping school to pick up work in exchange for food. “While my friends are learning at school, I’m busy thinking about what to eat the next day.” Abit’s teacher says she is intelligent, and her education is being blighted by hunger.
Sabita was forced to drop out of school when she was in grade two. When she was just 14 years old, Sabita’s family started organising her marriage. It was tradition in her village, and she felt like she didn’t have a say. “I realise my life has been negatively changed after getting married at early age.”
Growing up, Len worked hard labour with her family – up at 5am, and working 12-hour days in a rice field, clearing grass and growing rice. At home, Len experienced abuse from her alcoholic father. He would very often become aggressive and beat both her and her mother. “I think my life can be difficult because I am a female. As a female, you are more vulnerable to abuse and violence.”
Faridah was an enthusiastic student, who worked hard and always excelled in her studies. But getting to school wasn’t always easy. She often felt unsafe and scared. When she was just twelve years old, her grandfather saw a boy harassing her – so he took her home and beat her. “He stopped my education, banning me from going to school.”
Girls can transform the world once the 8 barriers are broken. Plan has identified the eight main barriers that prevent millions of girls around the world from gaining the education and skills they need to move from poverty to opportunity.
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