Posted September 26, 2016 from Nigeria

Thinking back from where I started from, my growing up as a young girl came with challenges. I was born into a polygamous family, where my mum is the fourth wife and also the last wife.

My mum was a humble and obedient wife, who with her children(3 girls and 2 boys) was always determine to please and obey the husband not minding the numerous wife’s, she says her home as a safe haven .And she was always willing to contribute her quota towards establishing and elevating her home.

My dad on the other hand, recognizing the huge responsibility, of having a large family, was only set out to paying school fees while compelling the wife’s to handle the other responsibilities that come with feeding and schooling.

My mother finding herself in such a family was left with no other choice than to hustle to feed ,clothe us and buying books that are necessary for our academic pursuit. It was so difficult considering a petty trade, unexposed and lack of formal education to fulfil these enormous responsibilities alone.

Being the first child of my mother, I was left with no other option than to look for means of alleviating this difficult situations as a result this , I had to wake as early as 5am to hawk corn pap( A Nigerian breakfast delicacy ) before going to school in .After this tedious responsibility, it was not easy to catch with school on time, as such I was notorious for coming to school late.

I can vividly recount the numerous punishment and flogging melted on me due to my frequent late coming. At other times, I was driven home for coming late. It was a tedious task to explain to my teachers my reasons for constant late coming as this will attract mockery from my fellow students.

My father on his own parts basking euphoria of having paid school fees was not bothered on any other issues concerning school. At a point I was on the verge of dropping out from school due to the difficult situations.

My mother who was so undaunted and determined to seeing her children through school never allowed the situation to force her into allowing any of us to drop out of school. She saw greatness in us and was willing to do every reasonable thing humanly possible into making us have tertiary education.

In spite of ridicule from fellow student who only saw immediate poverty , my mum doggedness was a pushing force in my life. By the grace of God, I manage to finish my secondary education in spite of the financial difficulties. With financial and moral assistance from my half-sister, I was able to secure admission into a polytechnic,

In Nigeria, a polytechnic is considered to be an education for people from poor home. Considering the two years involve as against the four years needed for a university education.

At the end of my of my two years ordinary diploma, instead of immediate proceeding into another two years of Higher National Diploma like other students from better homes, I was compelled into accepting a job offer after my industrial attachment preceding the Ordinary National Diploma.

The numerous challenges I had growing up as a young girl from a poor home in rural community in Nigeria prompted the initiative of floating My Non-Governmental Organization (Grassroots women and girls empowerment and gender equity initiative).The major aim of this NGO is to encourage young girls from poor homes on how to cope with the challenges of growing up in similar difficult situations

Our organization has partnered with rich families in the urban centres in sourcing for used textbooks and other educational materials which were subsequently distributed to indigent’s students in rural schools. We also organize seminars and workshops that empower young girls in rural homes.

My vision is to ensure that girls in rural communities in Nigeria are empowered to overcome the challenges of growing up and becoming the change makers they are born to be.

Jane Kalu

This story was submitted in response to Growing Up Girls.

Comments 3

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Hannah B
Sep 28, 2016
Sep 28, 2016

Thank you for sharing this amazing story!  It sounds like you are doing wonderful work to help other girls and young women to have access to education and educational materials.  I look forward to hearing more about your work on World Pulse!

Warm regards,


Sep 30, 2016
Sep 30, 2016
  • Hi Hannah, thanks for taking your time to read my post.
  • Regards
  • Jane kalu
Oct 02, 2016
Oct 02, 2016

Thank you for sharing such an empowering story!! It's great to hear how far you have come since your childhood. You are the genuine embodiment of a role model, helping girls from rural neighbourhoods attain an education that will help open their futures.