Teenage mother Bizuhaye goes back to school in Ethiopia
In the North Shoha Ethiopian region, east of the capital Addis Ababa, The Hunger Project is actively working within the Her Choice alliance to end child marriage. In North Shoha, The Hunger Project is focusing on getting drop-outs back to school. Often these are girls who have dropped out of school after a child marriage or teenage pregnancy. The Hunger Project is committed to supporting these girls so that they can finish their schooling and improve their situation – and that of their children.
The village where 19-year-old Bizuhaye Terefe lives is very difficult to reach; Wujiba is far from the main road and can only be reached on foot. In the rainy season, the paths are muddy and the journey requires a lot of perseverance. Bizuhaye lives here with her aunt, Genzeb Chebud, and her 5-year-old son, Abity. Two years ago, she returned to school.
Bizuhaye is happy that she can go back to school after dropping out when she was younger. Bizuhaye: “I was raped when I was 13 and then I became pregnant. That was a very nasty experience. I’m still sad about that. Because I was expecting, I had to quit school – that’s how it works here. I was living with my grandmother at the time because my mother had died a year earlier. After Abity was born, I lived with grandma for a while, but she could no longer care for us. Fortunately, my aunt Genzeb then took us home.” Genzeb (48 years old): “Of course I took her home. She is my sister’s daughter!”
Back to school
The Hunger Project started the Her Choice programme in the region two years ago. The programme runs activities for girls who left school too early, giving these girls the chance to study again. These girls are usually married early or pregnant. Her Choice found out about Bizuhaye’s situation. Genzeb: “I was visited by the school director, asking if Bizuhaye wanted to come back to school. Of course I wanted to help her, but I had no money for pens, notebooks, uniform and other school supplies. The Hunger Project then took care of that. Very nice, because that way Bizuhaye was able to go back to school at the age of 17! ”
Become a pilot
Bizuhaye has seized this opportunity with both hands: “I really enjoy going back to school. My favourite subject is English. My dream is to become a pilot later, that seems great. I can earn a lot of money and help my family. If I later become a pilot and my future husband has a busy job, I want to plan the arrival of even more children. I certainly want to have 4 children, but I want to be ready for it. Abity can then become a big brother. It will take a while before the time comes. First I want to finish high school and study. And my son will also go to school from next year. ”
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This article originally appeared on her-choice.org
Photos: Johannes Odé