Girls Claiming Their Power

Sidra

By Sidra Miller

It was a dark and stormy night.  Girls everywhere gazed out into the rain, wondering if perhaps next year they would be able to attend school.  Maybe if the harvest is good….

I would like to open with education.   Education is a privilege that is not to be taken for granted- if you are a girl.  In Ethiopia currently, only around 30 percent of girls are able to complete high school.  In the US, however, the rate of female college attendance is higher than male attendance.  The difference is not very significant, but it proves that for most girls, ability does not matter as much as opportunity does.

I am a very privileged girl, who is guaranteed to complete my schooling and get a degree at a good college.  I am 11 years old, living in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia for a year.  After reading a PinkGirl (an organization supporting girls’ education in Ethiopia) pamphlet and thinking about the visible gender inequality in the US, I was angry.  There is absolutely no reason for such inequality.  While being here, I have noticed some religious prejudice when visiting a monastery, but as I’m not knowledgeable about the Ethiopian Christian Orthodox religion, I will not make any generalizations.  I have also noticed men on the street yell things such as “Hey, beautiful!” (in Amharic) and have not seen anyone react to it,  aside from looking down and walking faster.  I think realizing you have power is definitely a privilege-and having even a basic education gives you confidence and strength.  Then, as you discover your power, you share it and let it be known that you are ready to speak out.  Girls can have power and people should not be threatened by it.

Our neighbors in Bahir Dar live in straw and mud houses with tin roofs and no sanitation to speak of.  Yet, every morning they don their uniforms and walk to school, hand in hand, after finishing work at home.  Such work includes caring for livestock, washing clothes by hand, looking after younger siblings, and cooking.  Many are proud girls.  In more rural areas, I think the lack of opportunities stems from the fact that if anyone can be sent to school at all—limitations are poverty, lack of nearby schools, enough teachers—it will be the boys.  It is not even a thought that girls should have these chances.

But they should.  Every girl, every farm girl and factory worker and child laborer should have every chance to rise up with one voice that says: We are here and we are ready.  We are strong, and we can make this change.  This time is our time, our time to rise and make this happen.  We will no longer wait for the world to wake up to us.  We are here now and this is our moment.

Sidra Miller is an 11 year old American spending a year in Bahar Dar with her family.

የልጃገረዶች የመብት ጥያቄ

በሲድራ ሚለር

ሌሊቱ በድቅድቅ ጨለማ የተዋጠና በአውሎ ንፋስ የተናወጠ ነበር፡፡ ልጃገረዶች በየቦታው ቀጣዩ ዓመት ትምህርት ቤት የመግባት ዕድላቸውን እያብሰለሰሉ ትክዝ ፍዝዝ ብለው ዝናቡ ላይ አፍጠዋል፡፡ ምናልባትም ጥሩ ምርት ከተገኘ ትምህርት ቤት ይገቡ ይሆናል…

መግቢያዬን በትምህርት ያደረግሁት እንዲሁ አይደለም፡፡ በተለይ ለሴት ልጅ  የትምህርት ዕድል ማግኘት በቀላሉ የሚታይ ጉዳይ አይደለም፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ በአሁኑ ወቅት የሁለተኛ ደረጃ ትምህርታቸውን ማጠናቀቅ የሚችሉ ልጃገረዶች 30 በመቶ የሚሆኑት ብቻ ናቸው፡፡ ነገር ግን በአሜሪካ የኮሌጅ ትምህርታቸውን የሚያጠናቅቁ ልጃገረዶች ቁጥር ከወንድ አቻዎቻቸው ጋር ሲነፃፀር የበለጠ ሆኖ እናገኘዋለን፡፡ ይህ በሁለቱ ጾታዎች መካከል የሚታየው ልዩነት አብዛኛዎቹ ሴቶች ያጡት ዕድል እንጂ ችሎታ አለመሆኑን የሚያመለክት ነው፡፡

ከትምህርት ቤት ቆይታዬ በኋላ ጥሩ የኮሌጅ ዲግሪ እንደምይዝ የሚያጠራጥር ጉዳይ አለመሆኑን ሳስብ ራሴን ዕድለኛ አድርጌ እቆጥረዋለሁ፡፡ እኔ ዕድሜዬ 11 ዓመት ሲሆን፤በአሁኑ ሰዓት ለቀጣይ አንድ ዓመት ያህል በባህር ዳር ከተማ በመኖር ላይ እገኛለሁ፡፡ በኢትዮጵያ ልጃገረዶች እንዲማሩ ድጋፍ የሚያደርገው ፒንክ ገርል የተሰኘ ድርጅት ያሳተመውን በራሪ ወረቀት ካነበብኩኝ በኋላና በአሜሪካም በጉልህ የሚታየውን በጾታዎች መካከል የእኩልነት አለመኖር ሳስብ ተናደድኩኝ፡፡ የዚህ ዓይነቱ መድሎ ምክንያት አልባ ነው፡፡ እዚህ ባህር ዳር እያለሁም አንዳንድ ገዳሞችን መጎብኘት ለሴቶች እንደማይፈቀድ ተረድቻለሁ፡፡ ነገር ግን ስለ ኢትዮጵያ ኦርቶዶክስ ሃይማኖት ብዙም ዕውቀት ስለሌለኝ ለጊዜው ስለሱ ባልናገር እመርጣለሁ፡፡ ሌላው ያስተዋልኩት ነገር በየመንገዱ ወንዶች ሴቶችን “እሺ ቆንጂት!” እያሉ ሲላከፉ የተመለከትኩ ቢሆንም፤ አቀርቅሮ ቶሎ ቶሎ ከመራመድ ውጭ ማንም ለእንደዚህ ዓይነቱ ትንኮሳ መልስ ሲሰጥ አላየሁም፡፡ ነገር ግን ሴቶች ኃይል እንዳላቸው ማወቃቸው ራሱን የቻለ ትልቅ መታደል ከመሆኑም በላይ፤ መሠረታዊ ትምህርት ማግኘት በራስ መተማመንንና ጥንካሬን ያጎናጽፋል ብዬ አምናለሁ፡፡ ከዛም ሴቶች መብት እንዳላቸው ሲያውቁ፣ ያንን ዕውቀት ያካፍላሉ፤ጥቃት ሲደርስባቸውም ዝም አይሉም፡፡ ልጃገረዶች መብት አላቸው፤ይህም ለሌሎች ሥጋት መሆን የለበትም፡፡

ባህር ዳር ጎረቤታችን ያሉ ልጆች በጭቃ ቤት ውስጥ የሚኖሩና በንጽህና የተያዙ ባይሆኑም፤ ሁሌ ጧት ጧት የቤት ውስጥ ሥራቸውን ካጠናቀቁ በኋላ፤ዩኒፎርማቸውን ለብሰው፣ እጅ ለእጅ ተያይዘው ወደ ትምህርት ቤት በእግራቸው ያቀናሉ፡፡ ከሚሠሯቸው ሥራዎች መካከል የቤት እንስሳትንና ህጻናትን መንከባከብ፣እንዲሁም ምግብ ማብሰል ይገኙባቸዋል፡፡ በይበልጥ ገጠራማ በሆኑ አካባቢዎች ደግሞ የድህነት፣ የትምህርት ቤቶች በአቅራቢያ አለመኖር፣ የመምህራን እጥረት አለመኖር በግንባር ቀደምትነት እንደ ችግር የሚጠቀሱ ይሁኑ እንጂ፤ የትምህርት ዕድል ያለምንም ጥያቄ የሚሰጠው ለወንድ ልጆች ነው፡፡

ልጃገረዶች የትምህርት ዕድል መነፈግ የለባቸውም፡፡ እያንዳንዷ ልጃገረድ፤በግብርና ሥራ ላይ የተሰማሩትም ሆነ በፋብሪካ ሥራ አልያም በቀን ሥራ ጉልበታቸውን እየተበዘበዙ ያሉት በሙሉ ዕድል ተሰጥቷቸው፣ በአንድ ላይ ተነሥተው፡- “እነሆ አለን፤ዝግጁ ነን!” በማለት ድምጻቸውን ማሰማት አለባቸው፡፡ ሴቶች ጠንካሮች ነን፤ ይህንን ለውጥ ማምጣት እንችላለን፡፡ ይህ ጊዜ የኛ ጊዜ ነው፤ ሁላችንም በአንድነት ተነሥተን ለውጡን እውን የምናደርግበትም ጊዜ አሁን ነው፡፡ ዓለም እስኪነቃ ድረስም አንጠብቅም፡፡ ለለውጥ ጊዜው አሁን ነው፡፡

ሲድራ ሚለር በባህር ዳር ከተማ ከተማ ለአንድ ዓመት ያህል ከቤተሰቦቿ ጋር የምትኖር የ11 ዓመት አሜሪካዊት ነች፡፡

11 thoughts on “Girls Claiming Their Power

  1. Very exciting to see Sidra getting her thoughts out in such a powerful and effective way. She is a role model for other girls to show ‘they have a voice’, and, that education is important for both genders. Connie Woolard, U.S. Boone, North Carolina

    Like

  2. Pingback: The 11 Year Old American Sidra Miller Speaks on Gender Inequality in Ethiopia - ShayBuna.com

  3. thank you for sharing this article! loved Sidra’s passion about education! On another subject, are there any volunteer/ work programs for Ethiopian diaspora to work for the US Embassy Addis Ababa in any development/ humanitarian projects? I am very interested in going to Ethiopia and working as development professional. humanitarian worker. Thanks!

    Like

  4. Dear Editor :

    I thank you so much for sending me this newsletter . It is really eye opening and very useful.
    I am really lucky to get a chance to be well educated. I owe it to my Mom. Since she didn’t have a chance to go to school, she was very adamant that I got a good education. My father has also contributed in shaping my mind to think big all the time.

    Best Regards,
    Elizabeth T.

    Date: Thu, 15 Oct 2015 13:36:16 +0000
    To: elsat1919@hotmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

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