Monica is 29 and married with a six-month-old baby. She had to leave school before she even got halfway through her education. This meant she only completed a total of four years of her full education.
She tells us that her parents had ‘given her away’ for marriage. “It’s normal for girls to be given away for marriage so as to provide a dowry, in the form of cows, to the family,” she explains.
“Once married, most girls are forced to drop out of school, because newly married wives are kept in the home, until their husband has grown to ‘trust’ his wife. This is normally up until they have had their first child.”
Even though this happened to Monica, she feels like she is one of the lucky women in her community. Her husband is the village primary school teacher and she says he knows the importance of education. She heard about Speak-Up radio education programme, and thought that it was a great way to get back into doing formal education.
Speak-Up is a twice-weekly radio education programme, which provides basic English education. Students can listen to broadcasts from home, or complete a 6-month tutored class if they wish to earn a certificate.
It was important that Speak-Up was a programme that welcomes young mothers like Monica. A woman in South Sudan is more likely to die in childbirth than to complete the first eight years of primary education. Speak-Up classes are offered at times that are convenient for women and in public places where they feel comfortable visiting. Even if lessons are missed, you can always turn on the radio in your home to catch-up.
Monica explains, “My husband was already thinking of letting me return to school, but it was because of these classes that he let me go back to learning.”
Monica says the most important part of the Speak-Up classes for her is learning to speak English fluently so she can communicate with other people and be able to access employment opportunities.
“I want to be able to talk to people from other countries, so that I can get to know and understand other cultures other than my own. I want to be able to talk with the Jur tribe and discuss marriage, because they do not give women away for marriage.”
Monica sees Speak-Up as her ‘start to learning again’.
At the end of Speak-Up, Monica and her fellow students who attend weekly lessons sit an exam. Everyone who passes receives a certificate of completion. Certificates are useful for students who are looking for employment and want to prove their fluency in basic English. Some students also are using their certificates to re-join primary school and continue their education.
We believe that education programmes,like Speak-Up, have the power to transform people’s lives for the better!
Radio lessons are low-cost, low-profile ways to provide lessons. This makes them perfect to reach large numbers of people, even when conflict continues to plauge a region.
Africa Educational Trust has been using radio broadcasts and pre-recorded lessons to provide basic literacy and numeracy education across the regions where we work for over 15 years.
Robert wasn’t going to let his disability get the way of having an education.