Gifty Azaawaazuma's Story from TENI

    Gifty is a form three (3) pupil of Baazu D/A Junior High School who had a child with her class mate three years ago. "I dropped out of school due to pregnancy. In fact, we (the boy and I) were dismissed from school. I pleaded with the head teacher to allow him complete so he can help our child and I later. I felt I loved him and was prepared to sacrifice everything including my education for him. My parents suctioned our marriage and sent me off to live with the parents of my supposed husband where I was deemed married."

    "Life was okay for a few months. I was faced with reality for the first time when my clothes could no longer fit me. I asked for clothes and was told "no one buys clothes for a woman." I set out in late pregnancy doing all sorts of odd things (gathering wild leaves for sale, burning charcoal etc.) to provide my needs. After I gave birth, his parents treated me like a piece of rag on the floor; hard work on the farm, household chores and my own effort to get some money to provide my needs. Anytime he returned from school, he threatens me. I started thinking about all the good dreams I had in school. I remembered some of the talks in school that encouraged us to rise up after falling. This dawns on me every day. Sometimes in tears, I felt like I was dreaming while walking. I was scared of the reality to return to school. It felt like adding another heavy load (carrying for myself, child and school)."

    "One day, in my charcoal burning expedition, it dawned on me that I have been cheated long enough. I got some renewed strength and was prepared to face all the difficulties and have a better tomorrow. The next day I arranged for re-admission, and thanks to the new thinking (pregnancy is not the end of school), I was admitted into JHS1. I started school in the second term of 2013/14 academic year, still a nursing mother. It's been difficult but I am now in JHS 3. I decided my mother should take care of the baby until I have written BECE. This resulted in my child's father and his parents harassing me until I could take it no more. My experience at the girls club came in handy. I reported the case to the Social Welfare. The verdict was in my favour. I was asked to choose where I would be comfortable to concentrate on my studies. My aunty was ready to help. The family was charged to provide me with 5 bowls of maize, a bowl of beans, 2 bowls of rice, a bar of key soap, 4 cakes of bathing soap and a sum of GHS 40.00 every month. The family was also charged to ensure all educational needs are provided until the highest possible educational level I want to attain. I was encouraged to report any time the family fails to comply."

    "I am so grateful for the support systems that exist now especially through the girls club. Some girls who suffered my predicament five years ago never got this support I have now. I am determined to study diligently to pass my exams and achieve my dream career. I am more determined to do better than the boys who impregnated me at both BECE and WASSCE. The sky is my springboard."