Originally published by The Hunger Project Nederlands.
In the North Shoha region of Ethiopia, The Hunger Project is actively working with the Her Choice alliance to end child marriages and enable girls to re-enrol in school. Often, these are girls who have dropped out of school after a child marriage or teenage pregnancy. The Hunger Project empowers girls so that they can finish their education and transform their situations for themselves and their children.
Bizuhaye, 19 years old, lives in the village of Wujiba with her aunt and five-year-old son, Abity. She has been going back to school for two years now.
Bizuhaye is happy that she can go back to school after she had to leave when she was just 13 years old.
“When I was 13, I was raped and then I got pregnant. That was a very nasty experience. I’m still sad about that,” Bizuhaye says. “Because I was expecting, I had to quit school — that’s how it works here. I was living with my grandmother at the time because my mother had died a year earlier. After Abity was born, I lived with Grandma for a while, but she could no longer care for us. Fortunately my aunt, Genzeb, then took us in.”
Image credit: Johannes Ode
The Hunger Project started the Her Choice program in the region two years ago. They empower and run activities for girls who left school too early to give them the chance to go back to school. Like Bizuhaye, these girls are usually married early or pregnant.
“I was visited by the school director, asking if Bizuhaye wanted to come back to school. Of course, I wanted to help her, but I had no money for pens, notebooks, uniforms and other school supplies. The Hunger Project then took care of that so Bizuhaye could go back to school!” says Genzeb.
Bizuhaye says, “I really enjoy going back to school. My favourite subject is English. My dream is to become a pilot later, that seems great. I can therefore earn a lot of money and help my family. If I later become a pilot and my future husband has a busy job, I want to plan the arrival of even more children. I certainly want to have four children, but I want to be ready for it. Abity can then become a big brother. It will take a while before the time comes. First I want to finish high school and study. And my son will also go to school from next year. “