Julie is a 14-year-old girl from Dass Local Government Area (LGA) in Bauchi State, Nigeria whose mother works in the rice and groundnut processing sector. To support her family, Julie sells groundnut cake at the local market.
“Most of us only think about food first before we ever think of school because we want to deal with hunger, that’s why most of us girls have problems,” Julie explained.
This type of work is dangerous for girls, since they are at risk of being kidnapped and abused. Girls from Julie’s community are also likely to be victims of early and forced child marriage: as a result, these girls tend to have less education, fewer life skills, and less knowledge of reproductive health.
Julie heard about a vacation school program from her mother’s friend when a local MEDA Partner visited their community to enroll local girls for the program. With her parent’s permission, she participated in the three week program.
During the three week vacation school supported by MEDA’s Nigeria WAY program, Julie and other girls were taught financial literacy, self confidence, self-care, leadership, communication, and the dangers of early and forced girl child marriage (EFGCM).
At the end of the program, Julie recognized the value of education, financial literacy, life skills, and shared her new knowledge with her friends. “ I have learned that it’s good to be confident and now I know myself worth cannot be bought….I have enjoyed every bit of the program and I will like MEDA to organize another one so that some of my friends could participate in other for them to also make better life decisions the way I have chosen to,” Julie concluded.
In the future, Julie is setting her sights high: she plans to study hard to become a medical doctor.