In 2013 when we decided to take the first step towards reaching out to young girls and helping them have a voice and stand for who they are,we were immediately faced with a great challenge. We had moved to a village called Kaure in Niger state a remote village almost not known by the world. There I met this young girl called Laitu,she visited my home once a while and when ever she came she sheared her desire on wanting to have an education, but in that community you don't dream leaving let alone having an education it was seen as a bad omen to leave your elders and go to unknown lands,girls never dared dreaming anything aside marriage. All I did was to keep encouraging her and making sure her desire never died. Laitu was 19years at that time but had never had an opportunity to see or know what a formal class room looked like. Every girl at 13years was to begin preparing for a life of her own in marriage. But Laitu was going against all of these to have something different. One evening she came to my home and said she was ready to leave I asked why the sudden decision and she said her parent were marring her off to a man who already had a wife she was to be a second wife but she wasn't ready just yet to give up her dream. So we decided to take her out by the following morning, My husband was going to town the same morning so we sneaked her out of the village because that was the only way to save her from what was about to happen and it was the way that had been used in time past by others who helped girls or boys go out of the village to seek a future. Laitu successfully left but only to return two days latter, her parent started looking for her and because they knew she always came to me and the desire she had for school, they asked if I knew where she was,at first I denied knowing but latter I heard from the community leader that they were involving the district head and the police. Also being a people known for diabolic engagement they were making plans already to consult their gods when I heard about it I immediately went to the village head and told him I knew where she was and I was going to find a way to get her back. My husband was to return that same day but it took him a day and half to return. But those hours were the longest of my life.
I and my husband were accused of stealing her,after she returned.We were called in the community council and my husband was accused again of wanting to take her as a second wife because any man or boy who wanted a girl as a wife all he needed to do is steal her to his home and then announce to the parent latter that he has their daughter and that is it she is married. It was a day long case but we begged for forgiveness,a lot of other people intervened and we were aquited. That really discouraged me and I did not know anyone or an agency that could help so I gave up. But after four years we were able to make some of them see the need for education and the good it could do to their community. Laitu could not get the dream she wanted but her courage brought a drop of light to that community. After the four years she gave up and married but to a Young man of her choice.
When we were leaving the village we were able to leave with a girl who is now in SS1(grade 10) but we are still hopeful that more girls can be saved from this wicked and evil culture. We are working towards giving this girls Beauty for the Ashes of their community and Hope for Tomorrow.
Together we can, until every girl child one at a time is reached and given a voice. There are so many Laitus out there and in such communities we need to do more and act fast.We are limited by alot but we will not give up.