“Her father loads vehicles at the Ber - Jakiri Motor Park and from his work he can barely put food on the table not to mention sending the kids to school though he hardly thinks of doing. But I think his presence in the house will be enough moral support for the children” Bonji Gladys – Member Local Governance Center, Jakiri
Berinyuy Larissa is a 10year old girl who lost mother at this very tender age and is left all by herself with no father or family member to take care of her. Mid way into the academic year a well wisher decides to send Larissa back to school but later finds out that not going to school is the least of her problems. Larissa has greater responsibilities to take care of that going to school was made almost impossible for her. She not only had to take care of herself but equally her younger ones the mother left behind among them a 1 year 6months old baby.
Larissa however considered the help offered her as a rare opportunity and one not to let go, so she seized it. So every morning, Larissa will take the 1yr 6 months old brother with her to school because there was nobody to take care of him in the house. But with the brother in school she could hardly study as her attention will be called to the crying brother so often making her to spend a greater part of her day out of class with her brother.
The head teacher of her class Mme Gayap Charlotte, who happen to be the well wisher decided to bring the case to the notice of the Local Governance Center. The center reacted immediately with a report to the Jakiri Social Welfare office. The office intervened by calling up the girl who assisted in identifying some of her family members including the father and sat them down for a meeting. The father is back with his family though his financial situation has not changed but as Gladys will say “at least the children know there is someone to lean on”.
Larissa’s case is one among many cases of young girls who have been turned into mothers and have had to drop out of school to take care of their younger ones. The few who even have the opportunity to go to school leave their houses in the morning overworked and come back still meeting more than enough to do with weekends for farm work. When do they have the time to rest or study so they can perform well in school. Most of them end up in early marriages because they spend several years in the same class so family members think “she is not intelligent enough to be in school” and think of the next option possible.
A support program to identify and assist children like Larissa will be very helpful in most rural communities.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Girls Transform the World 2013.