Growing up was quite challenging to me, born in a community, where there is no value for education, where culture determines the rights of every girls and women, then to the extent of matching a teenage girl with unknown husband left alone some remote arrears where women are only subjected to give birth and married only for farming purpose. This reminds me the case of one of my aunty. Although l was very young then, barely finishing elementary school but the memory still fresh as if it was yesterday. It happens so fast in the early hours of that day, as we have to perform our daily house shores, the most tedious work of fetching water from the river, miles away from the house. Here comes a rugged old man in his mid 60s, as husband to be, the extended family compelled my poor aunty to go with her husband after paying her pea nut bride price. That very day, there was commotion as my father did not agreed of the marriage, for the fact remain that my father was a teacher who is passionate about western education, he really desires that everybody around him to be educated, but culture did not allow him as the family concludes that he is not the biological father, there is little he can do. Aunty B, as we usually called her, wept bitterly all through the process for she was forced into the marriage at a tender age with an unknown man. Her experience about forced marriage to a total stranger marked a turning point in my life as a young girl with determination to break the jinx behind forced marriage and settled for proper education before marriage, like my father always said that education first marriage later at least ,have your first university degree before thinking of marriage . Many thanks go to my irreplaceable father of blessed memory despite poor culture who ensured that all his children received western education to the level of postgraduate degree. lest l forget, the sacrificial effort of my mother who really believes in my vision and she played a very active roles in my life while growing up, her priceless efforts paid way for me to be the first University graduate. I remembered waking up early morning during the weekends to go hawking handmade soap to make up for other needs although this is not under any compulsion , I feel is the best to do for a caring mother like my Mama but in many homes, it is compulsion. I have always had an intense love and sense of connection with people and desiring to make an impact while growing up which have a solid link with my background and this is still continuing, immediately after my postgraduate study, during this period, my interest has been shifted from taking a career in geologist to helping people. In reality, majority of young women in my community has lost hope about living a better future, this motivates me to make a difference, through setting up meetings with the help of the community leaders, advising them to go back to school or learning a trade, this gave birth to the idea of setting up 21st century entrepreneurs initiatives which engaged vulnerable girls and women on vocational training, leadership development and creating campaign against child marriage. 21st century entrepreneur initiatives was set up to spread the spirit of self reliance among girls and women and that have been our cornerstone since we started in the year 2012.Our actions and campaigns towards eradicating child marriage and adolescent pregnancy have been our major priority. HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY.
This story was submitted in response to You Are a Silence Breaker.