This is the story of Shukuru, a 13-year-old girl who is a student in the 4th year of primary school. A victim of discrimination, she was unable to start school at 6 years of age like her brothers. I was really touched by her story.
Born into a large family, only sister of five brothers
In Bunia, Ituri Province, lives a family of six children whose only daughter is Shukuru. For Shukuru, being born a girl is a matter of discrimination and underestimation.
“At age 6, I wanted to start school like my brothers. My parents said that as I am their only daughter I should spend more time with my mother as girls are made for housework. My younger brother, Trésor, was enrolled in preschool when he was 4! One day, I asked my father why I couldn’t study. He didn’t reply, but my mother said to me, ‘You are a girl and one day you will end up getting married to set up your own home. You don’t need to go to school for that.’ Mum went on to stress that my brothers should be given priority as they had to take responsibility for the family.”
Starting school at 10 years of age
In the end, Shukuru started her first year of primary school when she was 10. Today, she is 13 and regrets not having started earlier.
“While many children of my age are in the 1st year of secondary school, because of my parents, I am still in the 4th year of primary school. My classmates tease me for being the old lady of the class. The lost time is unrecoverable; my parents did me a disservice,” she says tearfully.
Discrimination against girls even in schools
Discrimination continues in schools too. Shukuru recounts, “A month after the start of the school year, the school organised elections for class prefects. I put myself forward as a candidate. However, only the girls voted for me as the boys said a girl can’t lead them.”
In addition, Shukuru is overloaded with household chores to the detriment of her studies. Fetching water, preparing meals, washing, looking after the house, going to the market, etc., continue to be her way of life.
Yes for equal rights for girls and boys
Our sisters have long been subjected to all kinds of gender-related hardship. However, girls are not just about fetching water! Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child stresses non-discrimination between children. Furthermore, article 5 of the Child Protection Act stipulates that “any act of discrimination against children is prohibited.”
We, as Young Reporters, denounce discrimination against girls in our country, our schools and our respective families. Girls can do better than just fetch water!
- Reduce Gender Violence in Schools
- My commitment against gender-based violence
- If you prevent us from going to school, who do you expect us to become?
Translated from French by Daphne Wood
Ephraïm, 17 ans, est Enfant Reporter de la Province de l’Ituri. Passionné par la défense les droits de ses pair, il voudrait devenir un professeur d’Université. Pour lui, tout le monde doit se sentir concerné par de la protection de droits de l’enfant.
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