The importance of Educating the Girls

The importance of Educating the Girls

By MMM Sisters, Fuka, Nigeria

Being Missionaries allows us to be channels of light in the path of others that they might discover their God-giving self and gain the freedom they long for.

Sheko, 9 and Jami, 6 (not their real names), are both girls and siblings. They are among our little friends here in Fuka, Niger State, Nigeria and they have sickle cell anemia.  They come to our clinic for their monthly follow-up care. They live in one of the neigbouring communities with their parents who are both farmers.

In most families here, some children are kept at home to do farm work while others are sent to school. The choice and decision of who among the children goes to school, often rests solely on the head of the family, the father. Mothers practically have little or no say in such decisions and often, children have no option than to go along with the decision of their father.

For Sheko and Jami, they both desire to live and lead a normal life like many other children, have access to basic needs as children and go to school.

However, their father Mr. Tanko, believes that girls are not meant for school and sending them to school is only a waste of resources. Moreover, he claims that girls will misbehave when they go to school and besides, he is already spending a lot on their medical bills.  On the other hand, their mother is a submissive wife and although she wanted her two girls to go to school, she would not want to upset her husband but accepted his decision about their children.  Consequently, Sheko and Jami seemingly resented their father’s decision and felt probably that he didn’t love them as his children. Both became unhappy, unwell and visited the facility more often in pain crisis.  The mother too became burdened with the care of the two and worried a lot about them.


When we noted the two girls reporting to the clinic often in pain crisis and their mother looking stressed out, we became interested in the girls and gave them more attention.  Eventually, the girls opened up to us and their mother equally shared her frustration caring for them.  She expressed her desire to see her children going to school like many other children but was worried about how to convince her husband.

The sisters and one of the staff held several one -on- one sessions with the girls and their mother and then involved them in group sessions with other parents.  Eventually, the sisters and two other staff members visited the family. We had a fruitful session.  At the end of our time with the family, the father was convinced of the importance of sending the girls to school and was grateful for our visit.  He thanked us for helping him to realize the importance of sending his female children to school.  He gave us his word that the girls will go to school and henceforth, he will give equal opportunity to his children and no longer choose among them.

Currently, Sheko amd Jami have both started schooling at St. John’s Nursery and Primary school. Since then, there is a drastic change in their attitude towards their father, they are both happy, healthy and excited about their new life in school.  Their mother looks happier and more confident about her two girls.  She shares how they are doing well in school and even teaches the other little children in the family when they return from school.  When we asked Sheko and Jami what they would like to be when they grow up, Sheko said she will be a medical doctor so that she could care for other sick children.  Jami on the other hand said she would like to be a health worker in the hospital too.

Today, both no longer report to the clinic in pain crisis, they are both healthy and their mother no longer had to carry either of them on her back to the clinic looking sad and stressed. They are able to communicate a little now in English. We are privileged to witness this transformation and pray that they will continue to grow to become who they want to be in life.