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Education as a Tool for Development

WRITTEN BY Nancy Kyeremeh


Education as a Tool for Development – a submission by Nancy Kyeremeh

Growing up, I was always taught that society was there to shape me, my values, my beliefs and even worse, my thoughts. I could not object….. in fact, I would not object. I dared not, not with the strict rules that were set by my parents. My every action was always controlled, my every word felt scripted all my actions looked like acts. I must say, I enjoyed it…. Especially with the kind of  distance and respect or so I thought, my friends gave me. I was living the picture perfect life. It was not so bad……until I turned eighteen.

 For my 18th birthday wish, I was allowed to spend 2 days with my grandma. She was my favorite person and I had always imagined how it would feel and look like, to spend more time with her, somewhere aside home….my home. My overprotective parents drove me to her place and left rules that I was supposed to follow. They swore they would be watching me, even though they would not be there.

Fast forward, I was done unpacking and ready to enjoy my excuse of a vacation. My grandma came in with a girl that looked nothing more than a year older than me. She was a beauty, I told myself. Lucy, as I got to know her name was, was “the maid”, and she would be keeping me company. She was excused but right after that, granny gave me strong warning, to never be seen talking to her as anything more than a maid or a slave.

 Society and my parents had always taught me that, I was a master and I was never supposed to come down to the level of a maid…..but you know that thing called instincts, it had other plans. That is how I found myself in Lucy’s room, later that very same night. She was scared and asked me to leave, but I was bent on knowing her. I promised her I would leave, but on the condition that she told me about herself…..

“There’s really nothing to know….I’m Lucy as you already know. My parents are farmers and I am your maid. Before you even ask, I cannot be your friend because you’re educated and girls are not allowed to go to school here”. These words lingered on my mind the whole night as I tossed and turned in bed. No girl child education? What are we…the great grandparents of our forefathers? I did not love the stress of schooling, but I loved the fact that I had the chance at being educated.

The next morning, I feigned sickness so my parents had to come back and get me. It was when I was leaving, that I saw what Lucy really meant. Most of the girls were on the streets selling and hawking their lives away. For the adults, it felt okay…..but I felt really bad for those small girls that looked no more than 15.

It was at this point that I knew I had to do something. Once I got home, I locked myself up in my room and started designing  flyers like the ones that I had seen, whenever my friends threw parties. I was not doing this because I was rebellious, but because that was the only thing my instincts was making sense out of. After what felt like two eternities, I was done with a flyer, that screamed girl child education is a must, in capitalized red letters. I sent it out to my friends and every other teenager I knew…because my parents would not support me, and I knew it.

That, was how I started, and before I knew, Lucy and I were driving to school together, after an NGO saw my campaign and showed interest in it. It might look weird and sound cliché, but even today, most individuals are deprived the right to education. Young girls, especially the ones in the villages are brought up not as leaders, but as wives. Resources may be inadequate, but that should not kill and deprive others of their rights. I started out as a young girl, that had every right to be spoilt and rotten, because of my rich background, but I used that instead, to help the people around me. I could have chosen not to care, but care chose me.

Though in the end, I helped a lot of girls, I also broke free from the chains of society. I learnt society was not always right. That society could shape your thoughts and beliefs, but never make them. That I could always start something with the little I have and most importantly, that I could help develop my nation, just with education, because in the end, it is the only weapon that can be used to fight the world…..

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