All over the world but especially in developing countries, girls are making an impact, and many organisations, including Hope for the Village Child Foundation in collaboration with Rise Up are working to make sure that impact becomes ever greater.
Girls from various communities came to the Centre where they were given many challenges to meet in their lives. These ranged from learning about people who might be models to actually meeting models, such as Maryam Dogara who shared with the girls the struggle she had to convince the members of her own family and community to allow her to pursue her education beyond primary school, how they thought she would not have anything to offer after finishing her education, but now they are proud of her because she is a graduate degree holder in LLB (Bachelor in Law) and a model to so many young women in her community.
The girls also listened to an input on values. They listed various values, but were told that the value they have is the one they place on themselves. They were told to know themselves because when they know themselves and the vision they have for their own lives, then they will be able to value that. They also were inspired by a representative (Director in the Ministry of Education) of Kaduna State who shared part of her story. She became a widow early on and had 3 children to care for. She asked them if they look at her, whom do they see? She identified herself as a qualified tailor, one who can sew for anyone, even to the extent of making bridal gowns. She does not rely on her government salary alone. She advised them to learn a trade, something that will sustain them throughout their lives.
The highlight of the day was the input by a drama group who demonstrated the consequences of getting pregnant early and not being able to finish school. But it also demonstrated how such a happening should not make the girl give up on life, she should overcome and move on. The girls overwhelmingly expressed the opinion that if a young woman is pregnant and made to leave school for one year, the young man should face the same punishment.
The girls were delighted with the programme and parents reported later that they expressed the hope that they will be invited if there is another such programme.