I am a 38 years old Ugandan man. As a child, I saw girls in our community failing to advance with education to higher levels, this practice included males but in 1980’s it was the males who remained in school. This included my own sister who could not complete Primary school. Since she wasn’t in school, she eventually got married ahead of me. As I write this, she got infected with HIV and now living positively. Later I got to learn through interactions, that parents did not trust their daughters to study as they would get married before completing a certain higher level and therefore investment in their education was a waste of resources, most of our elders were forced to renounce their religion, Islam, before being accepted in schools. This led to many Muslim parents to look at secular education as being coercive and it abused their rights. Our religion (Islam) also encourages early marriages; many parents also saw investment in a girl’s education as non beneficial. Other parents thought that if such girls got married, their family would not benefit, instead it would be their in laws who would. Since many parents also stopped in Primary school here in our area, these factors eventually resulted into many teenage marriages and marriages; thus the circle of a primary school dropout marrying another primary school dropout continues.

This circle of event has resulted into very many of our people not being in formal employment but working as casual labourers. Many of our community members are polygamous with very many children, an average of 6-7. When I grew up, in 2001, we started a primary school called Noor Islamic Primary School here in Moyo District, Uganda. I started as a volunteer teacher with other friends, after about eight months, I became the Chairman School Management Committee and worked up to December 2012. Our objective among others was to make sure, Muslim women who had lagged behind in education, should get an opportunity to study in their own school where they feel safe and the terms of the education can be modified in such a way that it suits the locals. This has helped in keeping very many girls in school. It has been consistent that from the inception, the girls in this school have been more in number than the boys. For example, the 2013 figures show that out of 507 pupils from P1-P7, there are 280 girls. This school was started by the efforts of the parents they put up two class rooms. We handed the school to Government in 2002 but retained the docket of foundation body so that what is done in the school is in line with the aspirations of the parents. It has both Muslim and Christian pupils under the Universal Primary Education Policy of the Government of Uganda where the Government employs the teachers and pays their salaries. We overcame some of these barriers through hard work and sacrifice.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Girls Transform the World 2013.

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I am very delighted to hear this come from a Man from the community!

i pray that all men join hands to break the cycle of girls dropping out, being married off early, and being subjected to very bad living conditions and dictates of the men who marry them and have the means.

i stand in solidarity with you on this to empower our sisters!

Nothing, I mean nothing;not religion, not culture, not wealth should make us compromise the lives of our dear sisters.

Again, thank you for sharing this, and welcome to world pulse community.

I look forward to hearing much more from you and your community.

EK Chemorion

I too am delighted to read your post! It is especially heartening to know that men such as yourself are committed to girls' futures! I want to give you a big THANK YOU(!!!!!) for your hard work, persistence, and compassion. The barriers you overcame have helped knock down barriers for many.

Take good care of yourself.

Love,

Susan

______________________________________________________________________________ "I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being." -Hafiz

Although Islam honored the women by encouraging her to have education ,work so she can put her goals in life ,not as these who called themselves religious leaders ,they only want to put her down so she can't compete with them , also the women numbers increases in all schools and the educational institutions . I am really happy that your story has a happy ending, you contributed in women education, and you brought her from ignorance and humiliation to the light of knowledge and science . thank you so much

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with all of us. I always find it very inspiring to see men engaging in girls education issues and women's rights issues in general. There is the common misconception that the barriers women and girls face in achieving equality are women's issues but I really feel men and women need to work together and that women's equality and empowerment will benefit society as a whole :) There are so many disheartening barriers to girls education- menstruation and sanitation issues, social stigmas/pressures, lack of positive role models, safety and security issues and the list goes on. There has been a lot of progress in many nations but much work is to be done! I am involved in a project in Malawi which promotes girls education if you are interested in checking it out: http://padsforempowerment.com/pad-project/

MaymeL

As more men like you will speak with courage, strength and good will, sure things will change.

Thanks for standing up for justice.

Love

Mauri

Kudos ! For your tenacity and wisdom to understand the root cause of pathetic norm of keeping the women deliberately illliterate,poor, depending and weak. U felt about this strongly and had will to conceptualize it is really praise worthy and inspiring. wishing strength , determination and good health to carry on the tough path you chose to make a difference.

Shilpa India

I praise my God for men like you! On behalf of the girls who benefited from your efforts, I thank you with all my heart!

I equally salute your friends who are sharing your burden. Continue your great deeds and compassion for young girls. Continue to be their HOPE! Your labor will not be in vain for many great things will come out of your sacrifices and hard work someday. Take consolation in this thought.

Ma. Lydia G. CallanoIloilo, Philippines+63 33 3158137 or 5138830

Than you so much,

I wish all Ugandans would think like you. I wish our people would know that all children are a blessing from God. These are words of encouragement from a man.

God bless you,

Edith

Kangabe Edith

Thanks a lot Kasega!! You still stand out of the crowd.. Am from Uganda and strongly believe in exactly what you are explaining. How i pray we raise a new generation of more men like you!!

Bravo Brother

Harriet - Uganda

Harriet Kamashanyu. "A woman is not born but rather becomes!"

THANKS MY BROTHER,

THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.

MY DAUGHTER ALSO HAS A BLOG

ITS URL IS www.luckycha.blogspot.in.

ACTUALLY, NOWADAYS, MY DAUGHTER HAS BEEN VERY MUCH DISCOURAGED BECAUSE OF LESS COMMENTS AND LESS TRAFFIC. I WANT TO GAIN HER HOPE AGAIN.MY DAUGHTER'S NAME IS DEVIKA. PLEASE HELP ME FOR SUPPORTING MY DAUGHTER BY VISITING HER BLOG, PLACING VALUABLE SUGGESTIONS AND SUGGESTING HER BLOG TO OTHERS.I REQUEST YOU. PLEASE...PLEASE...PLEASE.MY DAUGHTER'S NAME IS DEVIKA.

THANKS AND REGARDS, PRAKASINI

Thanks for the great work of laying such a foundation to educate the next generation especially in my home area.

My young orphaned cousin brother when to this school and did his primary leaving examination there after i had the opportunity to bring him to Kampala for S1 -S.4 but he had no problem adopting with the Kampala standard. usually children from rural schools have hard time adjusting especially being that either the English other circumstances cause them to rebound a class.

Thanks again for the great work

Islam is suppposed to be about empowerment of women, after all, we are the first teachers of the children. Your community will not see advancement if women are held back educationally. It seems that the men need to be more progressive in their thinking and support this issue.