The story of Grace, our bright orphan who is making waves in the education system of Zambia, created great interest in our readers and I thought I’d touch on a relevant and pressing subject from Africa: the girl/women situation.
With the exception of a few tribes in Africa, including the San Bushmen people of the Kalahari, most cultures are patriarchal. The men were typically responsible for protection, house building and making children. Even today, you see a lot of places in Africa where the men sit under a tree or on a bench while the women work the field, usually carrying a baby wrapped on their back.
Sometimes you also see men carrying an empty bottle, while the wife is walking behind the man, carrying a baby on her back, holding a toddler’s hand and carrying a large bag or fruit basket on her head. These are the common sights in many villages in Africa.
However, there is a deep underlining issue that very few people see or feel when visiting Africa: the deep- seated mentality that the woman needs no education, she only needs to reach the ripe age for marrying and making kids.
Girls in Africa marry as young as 14 and some even 12, with children by the time they are 14. Some of these young women are married by their parents to much older men, some in late 50’s, early 60’s. The idea behind is that men can make children well into their older age, while women need to be very young to raise children.
We have been fighting against this mentality from day one in Africa. We have pushed for more than half of our school children to be girls, even though we find opposition from chiefs and local leaders. We have pushed for girls to join in sports, like tennis, soccer, netball, volleyball, etc, so they too can experience a happy, healthy life. It is sometimes an uphill battle, and we are gaining ground little by little (sometimes by very, very little 😊), but we know that in 10-15 years, when these girls will graduate high school or college, will become the real change-makers, because only from within can a culture renounce its idiocies and antiquated mentalities that have no place in the 21st Century.
Become a Pilgrim and be a part of a life changing event!