I wrote this post some days ago in honour of the girl child…..
“Aunty, I will like to go back to school one day”. These were the words of a young teenage girl I met many years ago.
She sold recharge cards around the stadium in town, while I was in the University. And then somehow our paths crossed.
She lived with her aunt and had to stop going to school because of lack of funds. So she was at that spot every day trying to make money for her aunty.
I gave her things when I could and always encouraged her never to give up on her dreams of getting an education. She liked me a lot and always looked forward to my visits.
Years have passed, I graduated and moved on and never got to see my teenage friend again. I wonder if my words took deep roots in her heart, and if she ever returned to school.
Fast forward to some years later. I was on my way to work in the evening. I was on a night shift through that week. So after alighting at my bus-stop, I will walk down a long stretch of quiet road to my office.
It was usually between 6.30pm and 7.30pm. I walked very fast because of the lonely nature of the road. On one of those days, I noticed a little girl of about 9 years old hawking her goods meters away from me.
And then I saw a middle-aged man by her side. They looked like they knew each other. He was squeezing her backside and fondling her body with a nasty look on his face. She pushed his hand away and he put it back where he wanted.
I took the next turn to my office as I wondered about what could happen to that little girl. Will that young man violate her? Will he sexually abuse her and tell her never to tell anyone? Will he steal her innocence and keep luring her with gifts? Why was she hawking at this time of the day? These were the questions in head.
There are still many young girls today in different parts of the world who have never been to school. Others were forced to drop out because of poverty and ignorance. Many of these girls suffer physical, mental and sexual abuse before turning 18. Continue reading