Swazi girls speak up!
After the success of international Day of the Girl last week, several of you asked to see more of our project with Gone Rural boMake, on where Swazi and UK 15-year-olds see themselves in fifteen years’ time.
I talked about some of the UK schoolgirls’ dreams in my radio interview, but more intriguing I think is the voice this project gave to the Swazi schoolgirls – including our own.
They really illustrated our belief that, if you educate a girl, she will do the rest.
Indeed, one of the most inspirational outcomes was that these future mothers are determined to end Africa’s population crisis, by not having more children than they can afford to feed and educate.
The majority planned to have just two children…
“So that I can supply them with all their basic needs.”
“Pay school fees for my children in good schools.”
“Because when you have many children you cannot afford the needs of your children.”
Only one of the fifteen Swazi girls who took part in our survey adopted the more traditional view that having lots of children means “they can help in the future.”
This is a massive breakthrough.
A few years ago I went to a seminar at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and something one speaker said there really stayed with me:
“No country has ever got themselves out of poverty without first tackling their population problems.”
i.e. While families in developing communities continue to have more children than they can afford to feed, they will never emancipate themselves.
Another positive trend was the girls’ desire to stay (relatively) close to home and use their skills to benefit the African people.
Very few said they wanted to live in the UK or US (as I would have expected) but 50% wanted to move to South Africa, “because in South Africa they have a lot of job opportunities.”
One said she dreams of “owning a hotel in South Africa, living in a very expensive house and helping the needy with the money I will be earning.”
Another said: “I would like to have my own hospital in Durban and live in a double storey house…I want to be educated in Swaziland, so I can come back when I have money to give back to my people.”
This dream of helping others is a common desire. Indeed, our own girl (Lelo) said she hoped to be a doctor or a teacher “in order to help the sick recover from their sickness and because I want to give a good education to children.”
In her dreams, she would “use the money I earn to build a hospital.”
Another girl wanted to join the police force “to stop crime in my country” and another hoped that in fifteen years time she would be “teaching at a primary school…because the young ones have a bright future with shiny stars.”
This is but a snapshot of these children’s hopes and ambitions, but clearly communicates these girls’ determination to change the world we live in.
Education is the golden ticket that will allow them to do so.
If you’d like to see more results, e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for all your support so far!
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