ENDEARING FORTITUDE: THE STORY OF FAITH
Currently airing on television and circulating on social media is the inspirational story of a young lady, who in spite of becoming pregnant at age 14 and dropping out of school was determined not to stay down. She got up, picked up the pieces and returned to school after giving birth to three children. Now in Mawuli School- Ho, Faith desires to become a midwife. Survival, a dominant theme in her story, is what I choose to discuss.
The statement, “When I had my first child, I was having the desire to go back to school but because of financial constraints, I was hawking to provide for myself and my child…” suggests she has had to endure financial challenges which eventually compelled her to fall on the support of a man in return for ‘love’. This way of finding respite does not only pertain to Faith. Indeed, eking out a living remains a challenge for many individuals and households across the country. These challenging economic situations have been found to lure many school-going girls into early sex.
Defined by the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary as “courage shown by somebody who is suffering great pain or facing great difficulties”, fortitude remains a rare human resource that many people, whenever they are down, tap into to enable them bounce back into action. There is no getting away from the fact that Faith exemplified this virtue. As she put it; “but after that I decided I’ll go to school, so I left the man and started my life. From there I started selling to provide for myself and the children…”
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by World Leaders in September 2015 and took effect on January 1, 2016, seek overall to, “end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions; protect the planet from degradation; ensure prosperity for all; foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence.” But, specifically goal 4 purposes to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” whilst goal 5 aims to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
Gender in Education
The young lady’s story would serve as a reminder for the removal of disparities that continue to hinder girls’ access to education. The Education Ministry and related ministries are entreated to coordinate their activities to ensure that no child of school-going age is left behind.
Now that the President has begun easing the Covid-19 restrictions in phases, and teachers and learners are expected back in school from June 15, 2020, gender issues must continue to be addressed. Teachers and parents should be sensitized to encourage girls who become pregnant and are delivered off their babies to return to school without stigmatization. In sum, the state must continue to make it possible and easy for girls like Faith to return to school to pursue their academic dreams.
Source: Bruce Senam McBrian