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Age and size do not determine marriage

A pupil of St. Francis Primary School in Juba has been inspired by learning in a mixed school where boys and girls share ideas and experience and learn how to interact with one another.

Yemima Peter Feki, 18 year-old-pupil from primary eight shared her insights with Juba Monitor when she started her school in a mixed school (co-education).

She said she is happy to be at her upper primary while still young to complete her primary education and overcome challenges facing girls at their early age. She said she was glad that she was competing with boys as they could share some books and ideas together.

“I am happy that I have reached this level at my age because I would finish my secondary school and continue with university thereafter I will work and later decide to set up a family, she said.

She explained the life experience of her education.

“Learning is okay. Our teachers are very serious. They teach all subjects without interest. They encourage us to study hard. Our female head teacher also always advises us to compete favourably with boys in order to do well so that we become future leaders,” she said.

She said girls could feel comfortable at St. Francis Primary School because sanitation is up-to-date at the school.

“We have bathrooms for girls and latrine separately. These help us maintain hygiene. It is the culture for females to clean themselves always to avoid any nasty smell. That is why you see girls going to bathroom with water, mirror, face powder and other decorative materials,” she said.

Yemima said poverty is one of the challenges facing girl-child education.

“It happens that most girls lack many things like underpants, vase, and inner clothes, good shoes and poor feeding,” she said.

She said lack of some scholastic materials due to poverty discourage girls as they lose hope to continue with studies.

This is because they think that their colleagues will laugh at them and abuse them of not being clean,” she Yemima said.

She further said poverty has led to many girls dropping out of school and rush for marriage.

She advised her fellow colleagues that poverty should not be used as an excuse for girls to rush for marriage leaving studies.

“Girls must be clean always, behave responsibly, respect others, refrain from loving boys and abstain from sex and other bad activities,” she said.

Education is an important tool for women “educating one woman is educating country”.

Most girls think that getting husband is a solution to their problem but no problem ever ends once you get married.

“They only end when you get educated and find yourself good job to earn a living,” she said.

Yemima said some girls also get discouraged when they see themselves big.

“They think they are old enough and cannot be married,” she said.

She said size and age do not determine marriage.

“It does not matter whether you are big in size or above 18, prevent yourself from getting married,” she said.

She said if girls continued with their studies, even if they overage they would still get married to a good husband.

She warned girls not to be deceived by boys who have money.

“You see boys are very terrible to girls. They have lot of tricks. They can always come to you and beg for something. If you refuse for the first day, they will again come the other day with huge money to lure you to accept their request. This is not acceptable, don’t accept, you continue with your studies. Don’t listen to their endless demands,” she advised.

Yemima is encouraging girls who got married before they completed their studies should return to school.

“It is not a matter of giving birth to five or six children that will prevent you from going back to school,” she said.

She called on all female students not to rush for marriage, engage with boys and involve in criminal activities.

By Moses Gum Degur

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