Defending Dignity. Fighting Poverty.

OUR STORIES: JANUARY 2017

”One Day I will be able to return back to school”

Ailora da Dionora, 19 years old, is one of the many girls who dropped out of school in the last two years due to the drought in Inhambane province, Mozambique.

Every child has the right to a family, to health and education, and I am one of them. I have the right to dream of the future. I was happy when I entered high school. I know this may seem ridiculous to many children but it’s a joy for me because in my neighborhood, few children could study up to grade 10. There are several reasons that make them give up: long distances to get to school or a need to find a job to help in the family’s livelihood. I dropped out of school when my father, at age of 70, passed away and the following year (2013) my mother died. Since then we are left on our own. I had to take care of my younger brothers, aged between 6 and 10 years old. My parents were farmers and they had a very large farm. In the past, we used to collect large quantities of food that we sold commodities on the market. With small production my parents could pay school and feed us.



Ailora Da Dionaora, 19 years old, is one of the many girls who dropped out of school in the last two years due to the drought in Inhambane province, Mozambique


I finished grade 10 and passed to 11 but I could not continue my studies as I needed my parents or at least someone to help me. I needed someone to pay my monthly school fees. The high school is in Funhalouro village, about 40 kilometers from my house. I had to rent a house while studying. So I dedicated myself to the farm work – knowledge that I gained from my mother under a ruthless sun, sifting the earth in search of food for my brothers. But due to the intense heat from last year and mostly the current one, crops dried and I could not harvest almost any food. Before drought we could produce peanuts, cowpeas, maize, sorghum and corn. But this year (2016) the heat was too intense and nothing managed to survive. I’m preparing myself for the next growing season to sow the seeds again.

I have decided to do housework in some neighboring house in order to earn money on a monthly basis, an amount that helps me feed my two brothers and buy books and uniform to my younger brother who is in grade four. I am part of CARE’s emergency program that helps people affected by drought. I receive rice, flour, salt, peanut, oil, sugar and seeds, and we now have food at least for a month.

Despite all the hardships, I believe that one day I will be back to school – that is why I have strength to feel happy. When I talk to other girls who have the same stories like mine, I think it's just a piece among many others. Some girls have terrible stories to tell, some have never even been to go to school and many of them apart from having dropped out of school, have babies now and struggle feeding their children during the drought –My friend is 16 and she lives with her grandmother. She dropped out of school last year. The following year she became pregnant and when she gave birth, the doctor at the hospital said that her baby was underweight because the mother did not feed properly. The other friend of mine married too early by imposition of the parents claiming that they can no longer provide food and therefore she must look for a man to support their expenses. I believe that there are other girls in my district who have the same hope: return to school one day.

 

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