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When I talk about education I feel a special respect since both of my parents work in the field, therefore it is a profession I’m close to. But before starting, I would like to reflect on what education is. It can be understood as having completed basic studies or university studies, but as I understand it, it means having certain values and integrity that allow you to respect people and to make their life easier.

There are 6 women in the Project that have completed secondary education, none of them have university studies, and a vast majority did not learn how to read and write during their time at primary school. The reason for early school-leaving have been lack of economic ability, together with a male-dominated culture that guides women towards marrying young and devoting themselves to the home. It hasn’t been that long so as to forget that in Spain years ago, if it was to be decided who in the family would study, the girls could already put on the apron because it wouldn’t be them.

In Kenya education is expensive; primary education is starting to be accessible, but secondary education is a privilege that many families cannot afford. Therefore, here education marks the difference between social classes.

But, does not getting an education make them uneducated people? No. Here you find the women with the most integrity I have ever met. They work together side by side, with their ethnic, religious and family differences and they do it in the most respectful way I have ever seen. They get to know each other, listen to each other and take care of one another like one big family. They also show respect and education to all the voluntary people who come every month from very different contexts, taking time to get to know them, giving them smiles, hearing their stories, accepting their way of doing things and taking care of them.

About their vision of education, they all know the importance of studying and hope that their children don’t have to drop out of school like they did. When asked about what they want for the future, a vast majority say education for their children. That is a great victory; they couldn’t get an education, but that hasn’t prevented them from seeing their brothers, male cousins or other men they knew who got it having other opportunities for the future, which they now want for their children.

Another question from the interview was who they considered to be more intelligent, girls or boys; the majority said girls. Not because they are more or less smart, but because they are aware that women have less opportunities. They know that if they don’t do well in school and don’t complete their studies, they will have fewer arguments to refuse to marry, and this makes them be better students.

Aprender en igualdad 01

In the same vein, when we gave the talk to female teenagers, all of them said they wanted to complete their studies and pursue a career, from pilots to doctors, but pursuing a career. Men have a better chance of finding a job without being qualified, working in the sea, in construction, in security, etc. However, the possibilities for women with no education are much more reduced.

This faith in education does not mean that this is free from sexist attitudes. For example, when asked about the head of the household at school, the correct answer is the father. Or when choosing who in the family will have an assistant teacher, boys are always chosen over girls so that they can leave school early to help their moms. But change is pole pole, step by step.

In conclusion, I would like to refer to the words of a girl who said in her interview that she trusts that education is the tool that will make young people understand that women and men are equal, that women aren’t animals, and they cannot use force against us. In Spain we are losing faith in education as a tool for change and we see how the new laws that aim to achieve equality fail to enhance education. That is why it is exciting to see how these women, from a completely different society who haven’t had the opportunity to get an education, know that having a different future or not depends on whether you get an education.

 

Author: Ana Fernández | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Read 555 times Last modified on Sunday, 22 October 2017 00:47
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ABOUT AFRIKABLE

Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.

 

In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.

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