It is very important for me to share my experience with other young girls of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the world, as they are the women of the future. I want to tell them all to think for themselves and to take matters into their own hands. Let’s prove sexist individuals that they are wrong !
We, young girls, have to try harder and must go further in order to achieve what our mothers were not able to, and thus prove to people who do not believe that women have a role to play in development that they are mistaken.
During my secondary studies, I faced several discriminations was felt in the way we were considered. My school seemed designed for boys more than for girls. Until the 1990s, there were only boys in my school, which is how total discrimination began. I registered for school in 2009, I was 11 years old. Only a limited number of girls would be allowed to register and plenty of things prevented them from developing. For example, we were only allowed to have hair that was 2 centimeters long, no more.
In all of the schools in my country, there is a government which speaks on behalf of all the students. The children who are part of the school’s administration have the right to speak when something is not going well, in collaboration with the parents’ committee. But there were no girls represented in my school’s administration.
Our battle against discrimination of girls
In 2011, all the girls from my school started to fight in order to integrate the school’s administration. There were three of us in 2011, and in 2013 8 girls, as opposed to 12 boys. I held the position of Minister of Culture, and that is how we were able to have girls represented in all the cultural groups at school, and how girls no longer had to keep their hair two centimeters long.
I want to encourage girls to always move forward, despite what people say and obstacles. Having lived and fought against it, I want people to know that to discriminate against a girl is to smother her intelligence and her knowledge. On the contrary, supporting her will allow her to develop in all aspects of her life.
During July 2014, I was in London with Nathan, a fellow child reporter, in order to participate in the Summit for Young Girls Against Marriage and Genital Mutilation. It was because of Nathan’s help that I could make a strong impression there with my plea for all the young girls of my country. We understood the importance of working hand in hand without gender discrimination for our growth and development
This is why we want to tell all the youth of the world, girls as well as boys, to persevere in order to always work in synergy for the sustainable development of their nation.
Published in April 2015
Translated from French by Katherine Goulart-de Wailly
Merveille a 17 ans et elle étudie en première année à l’Institut Supérieur Pédagogique de la Gombe à Kinshasa. Après plusieurs années d'expériences d’enfant reporter, Merveille s'est lancée dans des études d'histoire, sciences sociales et gestion politique. Son but est de défendre les droits de ses pairs et de venir en aide. Selon elle, “il ne faut pas se limiter au rôle d’enfant reporter mais poursuivre cet engagement pour les enfants dans la vie d’adulte”.
Merveille is 17 years old and is in her first year of university in Kinshasa. After a few years of experience as Child Reporter, Merveille has decided to study History, Social Sciences and Political Management. Her goal is to defend her peers' rights and help. Merveille believes: ‘One must not restrict oneself to the role of being a child reporter, but continue this commitment for children into adult life.’
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