Fighting for Girls' Education in Uganda

06/24/14

It doesn't matter if you are only seven years old. In many families in Uganda, if you are the oldest girl, you are in charge of caring for the younger children. Even when you're supposed to be in school. 

 
And so that's what seven-year-old Prescila did. She was actually the youngest of nine children. But when her father died in a car accident, her mother, who was very sick, could no longer care for her. So she went to live with one of her older sisters, who already had four young children of her own. Prescila was the babysitter. 
 
Often, little girls in Uganda are expected to care for their younger siblings
   Often, little girls in Uganda are expected to care for their younger siblings, even when they should be in school. 
 
"So many days, my school was interrupted," Prescila says. "At any time in the day my sister would ask me to stay home and help take care of the kids, while all the other children went to school. I would say yes, but inside me I was shedding tears because I wanted to go to school.
 
"I had no time to play like the rest of the kids," Prescila continues, "because in my free time I always had the baby in my arms."
 
 
Even when she did get to go to school, supplies were limited, so learning was difficult. She had two exercise books to last the whole term, so she picked and chose what she wrote down. Sometimes, she wrote nothing at all because she had no pen or pencil. 
 
"When I would lose my pen, I would stay without writing for a week before I could tell my sister that I needed another, because I was afraid of her rebuke and spanking for losing my pen," Prescila says. 
 
Without someone to stand up for her, Prescila felt like she was doomed to watch children and do chores her entire life. That's when her sponsors came into her life
 
When Prescila was identified for sponsorship, she began attending COTN's school. There she learned that it was her right to be educated, that she didn't have to say yes every time she was told to stay home. 
 
Today, when her sister wants her to watch the baby, Prescila knows she can say that she needs to be in school. She knows that if she misses too much, COTN staff will come and see what the problem is—and stand up for her—like no one had ever done before. "Now I know that I have the right to say no or yes," nine-year-old Prescila says. "Now I have no fear of anyone stopping my education." 
 
Today, Prescila knows she can say "no" when her sister asks her to stay home wit
Today, Prescila knows she can say "no" when her sister asks her to stay home with the baby, because COTN staff will check up on her if she misses too much school. 
 
Just knowing that her sponsors are supporting her education has made a difference for Prescila, too. "I feel so loved by my sponsors," she says. "I want to thank them for believing in me." 
 
Now that Prescila has learned that she has a right to be educated, she is eager to see the injustice of girls missing school change across Uganda. She asks that you pray for the people of her country to "give equal opportunity of education to all children, without minding their sex." 
 
Help a girl get an education and change her country! Sponsor a child today.