When You Educate the Girl Child, You Educate the Whole Nation

03/04/14

If it was not for you, Mariatu would have ended her education years ago. She began school when she was seven years old, but it was a challenge for her parents to find the money to send her. "My parents found it difficult to enroll me at school," she says.  

 
Mariatu says she would have ended her education years ago if it wasn't for you
                     Mariatu says she would have ended her education years ago if it wasn't for people like you
 
When Mariatu was finally able to attend school, she had to balance her schoolwork with her chores at home. Her parents wanted her to prioritize school, but they also needed her to fetch water and help with the cooking. 
 
Mariatu made it to junior secondary school (the equivalent of seventh grade in Sierra Leone) this way—working as hard as she could on her farm after school, and scrounging together all her family's spare money for tuition every semester.
 
In those days, Mariatu slept on the floor and only had one or two meals a day. But she was determined, and so was her father, whom she says always encouraged her in her education. They were committed to her schooling, no matter how difficult is was.  
 
Mariatu's parents have always encouraged her education
Mariatu's parents have always encouraged her education, but it was a struggle for them to find the money to send her before she was sponsored.
 
It was in junior secondary school that Mariatu was identified to be in Children of the Nations' child sponsorship program. That was when she knew her life would be different. Going to school would no longer be the daily struggle it was before. 
 
In a village where no girl had ever completed secondary school, Mariatu knew her chances of staying in school and graduating were slim. But with sponsorship, she had a chance. One thing is for sure, she says, "If it was not for my sponsors, I would not have continued my education." 
 
Though she has sponsors by her side providing for her school tuition and the spiritual and social support she needs to keep persevering, Mariatu's life is still not easy. A few years ago her father began to go blind, and today he is unable to work on their farm—the family's only means of income. 
 
Mariatu's home is tiny, dark, and cramped, making it difficult to study. She still helps her parents as much as possible—selling their farm's produce in the marketplace and helping out with the household chores. She spends most weeknights at a friend's house closer to school, where she has space and a little light to study by. 
 
With your help, and Mariatu's perseverance, she believes she can make it
Mariatu and her family have a lot of struggles—her father is blind and their home is very small and dark. But with your help, and Mariatu's perseverance, she believes she can make it through school. 
 
Despite all this, Mariatu continues with the same determination that got her all the way to seventh grade before she had a sponsor. She is now a senior in high school, and dreams of becoming an economist. If she does well on her exams this year, she will be the first girl from her village to earn a high school diploma. But she doesn't plan to stop there. "I want you to pray for my education," she says, "to continue to help me complete my education up to university level."  
 
Asked what gave her the determination to get as far as she has, Mariatu smiles shyly and shares a bit of wisdom from her father. "When you have educated a girl child, you have educated the whole nation," she says proudly. 
 
Mariatu strongly believes in girls' education
             Mariatu strongly believes in girls' education, and hopes to be an example to her whole community.

Mariatu needs an additional sponsor to help her finish her education! Will you help her reach her dreams? Sponsor Mariatu, or another child like her, today!