What if I rescue a few? Why DO girls drop out of school so easily?
Elspeth Dugdale | December 16, 2020
The truth is, that without a school like WTA, many able, sparky, committed girls would never make it to secondary school. The odds are really stacked against them. So many of them can’t even ‘cross the bridge’ from primary to secondary school. When Charles first started WTA in 2004, his initial thought was "What if I rescue a few?".
Girls in poverty are extremely vulnerable when it comes to education. Why?
Traditionally they are less valued, less worth educating, often be kept behind at home for domestic work, farm work and babysitting. Why bother to educate a daughter if she leaves and marries into another family? Girls arranged into early marriage bring in a significant income with the wedding dowry. The statistics are self-evident.. but stories explain it far better. Girls like Lois, Ruth & Sarah are desperate to remain at WTA and adamant that it is life-changing.**
“My name is Lois and I am 20 years old, from Northern Uganda. I am one of 10 children and both of our parents are alive and still together. They both farm the land to earn money. I attended a local primary school, but it wasn’t a very good standard. I used to work to try and support myself at school, but if I didn’t earn enough, then I had to delay returning to school, which affected my results. I work so much better when my mind is more settled.
What I like most about WTA is that the administrators have great sympathy for those who can’t pay their school fees all at once or on time. I also appreciate the good services the school offers the students: teaching us well and feeding us well.”
Ruth’s story ….
"One of the biggest challenges for me is missing lessons, when I’m sent home from school to collect more school fees. Also, when I lack basic requirements for school: pens, books, school uniform etc. Of course, this means I need to work hard just to get these basic needs – and then it’s so hard to concentrate on school and feel good about it. Then I am so distracted that my standard of work suffers badly.
WTA has really helped me by reducing the amount of school fees that I pay, although I still sometimes find it hard to complete the full amount. They also help with providing me with some basics like pads, (the ‘Days for Girls’ reusable pads), which saves a lot of money.
If I wasn’t studying at WTA, I would have to stay at home and just attend a technical school – which wouldn’t be my choice."
"I'm 16, from Gayaza, near Kampala. My parents separated before I was born, so I have never known my father. My mother fries chips in the evening to earn money to support me and my 5 siblings. Although I started at a good primary school, I had to change to a cheaper school due to the lack of money. Going to WTA enabled me at first to continue with my education, although if my mother was short of money, I still had to stay at home, until she had collected enough. Sometimes we didn’t even have enough food.
Getting help with fees from the safety net fund means I can now stay at WTA – I like the environment and the people, who are friendly and faithful in their work. If I didn’t receive this support, I would have to stay at home to help my mother frying chips."
Next term, it is going to be even harder for such girls to go back to WTA after being at home for nearly a year during lockdown. Many parents have been out of work and without salaries for months. It is and will continue to be a very difficult time, especially in the more rural areas.
We will continue to support WTA to enable as many students to return, when the new school year starts in 2021. If you would like to join us, please donate via the red button on the website homepage:
£20 will help a day student get back to school, £50 will help a boarding student get back to school.
£15 will pay for stationery essentials
£10 will pay for reusable pads or toiletries
£15 will pay for a uniform pack
** The three girls have, of course, allowed us to share their stories,and we have changed their names for privacy.