Thursday, May 10, 2012

Children's Education Foundation believes and knows that an education makes a difference to a girls future but is it enough?

Children's Education Foundation wants girls to have a future with choices. What does that demand?

An education is needed to have choices
If you are uneducated your choices are severely limited here. The future of an uneducated female looks like what I see almost every day; an early marriage to a so so man, the first child within the first year of marriage, some verbal and physical abuse, struggle to make ends meet and then the cycle continues with them not being able to afford to educate their children. Or it might be the other common option we see; no marriage, no permanent man and one, two or three children, and they struggle to make ends meet and find it almost impossible to send any of the children to school. At present we are helping quite a few single mothers with the education costs for their children.

But the cycle is inclined to continue and continue.... deep female and cultural conditioning is strong, and even stronger in such traditional societies as in Vietnam. With a decent income at least it removes most of the daily back-breaking struggle. but that is not enough to make conscious wise choices that are different to what one sees around one.

What else does it take to have a future with choices
A girl I know is getting married this week and her situation has triggered me to complete working on an additional program we can do here besides giving academic education to many girls. She is an intelligent, English-speaking, university-educated 26 year old woman and is choosing to marry a lazy uneducated man, who is also a heavy drinker. His family are traditional vegetable farmers and she will now have to get up at 3am to pick the vegetables before the sun rises. At 6am when she finishes she will get ready for work, eat her breakfast and then go to her daytime job. Her parents are intelligent and have not done everything totally traditionally. Her mother for example married late, is hard working and is now a student Buddhist nun and her husband readily accepts this. He is an intelligent hard-working man. Her choice will mean a hard life.

The program I am working on including creative writing, art and photography, I hope will start the process of the girls we work with at least having the possibility of being more reflective, and conscious of the choices they make.

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