Here in the UK the transition from primary school to secondary school is an exciting time.
Imagine though, being told at this point that you can’t go to school because you’re getting married to a man who is closer in age to your dad than you.
This is the reality for many Maasai girls in northern Tanzania. Less than 30% of the girls who live in the Ngorongoro region attend secondary school. Those girls who do go to school tend to perform worse academically than boys, due to lack of confidence and discrimination. In 2011 only 25% of girls passed their final exam.
African Initiatives is working with the Pastoral Women’s Council on our highly successful ‘Pre-Form 1’ intervention; a residential summer school which supports Maasai girls in Tanzania to brave the risky transition from primary to secondary school.
Girls’ like Bahati, who would not have got to secondary school if it weren’t for this project:
“My name is Bahati Emanuel. I am 15 years old and a former student of the Pre Form 1 class.
Pre form 1 encourages us to study hard and raise our expectations. The life skills sessions built my confidence and capacity to defend myself. Now I am sure that education is for all.
I am hoping to study Gender. I want to make gender equality part of community culture. I will always remember the team spirit in the class and the stories from teachers which made me realise that even women can succeed in their lives.
I now realise the power I have as a girl”.