No? Then imagine you’re in South Sudan where you face an hour’s walk to school over rough ground in your bare feet.
This is the daily reality for many children, and for girls it can be the final piece in a whole chain of barriers that keeps them out of school. We provide programmes to keep girls going to school: every year of girls’ schooling improves their lives and their communities’ future.
Meet Monica, Doris, and Anita. They live in a small village in the South Sudan province of Jonglei which has some of the country’s worst poverty and the lowest proportion of girls finishing education. Primary education is supposed to be free, but, most schools still charge small termly fees and there are costs for school uniforms, exam fees, PTA contributions and the like. For most families, these costs are too high. So for many girls it’s a choice between going to school barefoot or not going to school at all.
To support the girls’ commitment to stay in school, every year we select an area to receive a gift of flip-flops. In 2012, Monica, Doris and Anita along with 100 girls from their local primary school received a pair of flip-flop.
Doris says that being given the flip flops marked the community’s appreciation of her efforts to continue her education. Doris, aged 16, says she dropped out of school for two years when her mother was ill. As the eldest daughter she took charge of caring for her siblings as well as looking after the home. Now she’s back at school and determined to complete her schooling.
The gift of a pair of flip flaps is a small gesture but it’s a symbol of AET’s commitment to improve girls’ education. Though it might not be an easy journey to get to school, knowing that others believe in you has a big impact. You can read more about AET’s school mother’s programme and the flip flop scheme it provides here.