Saturday, March 09, 2019

"The girl is 15 yrs old, presently in JSS 1 and cannot read nor write." These were the words I heard from the Principal as she instructed one of the teachers to send for the girl.

My worry was:
How did she finish primary school If she cannot read or write?

As she came into the office looking timid and withdrawn, the Principal gave me the opportunity to ask her a few questions.
Me: Do you know how to read and write?
Reply: No

Me: Do you want to learn how to read and write?
Her face suddenly got enlightened as she said "Yes".

I tried to access how bad her reading skills were by giving her a book to read and pronounce the words she knew. It was very unpalatable.

Further inquiries revealed that her family background and I was told that her father said he was waiting for time to roll fast so that he can give her out in marriage. She had been in and out of school, when she was sent to work as a househelp.

My response to the Principal was so direct:
"She will not understand what is being taught in the class or pass her JSS 1 exams if she can't read or write. Can you make arrangements for her to enrol in an extramural lesson, I will pay for it. Please tell her father about my decision."

Her smiles after the discussion signified hope in herself and her teenage dreams.

The RIPPLE EFFECT of the School Empowerment/Book Donation project  brought up unique scenario that we didn't envisage when we began.

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Grace A. John-Ugwuanya is a human development strategist, public speaker, an author and Biomedical Researcher. She helps individuals breakout beyond certificates and become a better version of themselves. She is also the director of Amara's Hub Concepts, an event management, content writing and capacity building service provider.

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