published in Christmas ActionEducationRefugeesWomen / Girls on November 15, 2019

Far from home, far from hope

This Christmas, you’re needed to help restore hope for families like Elizabeth’s.

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“I did not go to school because my father refused.

He said that if a girl goes to school she may be told that early marriage is not good. 

Then he could not have the opportunity to have her married, and he could not receive his cows as bride price. So I only went to Grade 1.

My father forced me to be married to a man. I was 13.

I refused, and ran away. But the man followed me. He took me away and forced me to be with him for two years. He did not talk to me. I did not love him. He forced me to be there. He would not let me go outside, because he knew I would run away.

At this time I had two children.

My father did not know where I was, but he came looking for me. When he found me, he said to the man, now let’s talk about bride price. The man said he did not love me, and would not take me as his wife.

In our culture, this would be cause for conflict.

My father did not want this, so he brought me back home. He said ‘I will take her and the children back and look after them, because I am to blame for not letting her go to school.’

Then the conflict came. People came to attack us, so we all ran away. We all went in different directions. I went with my two small children. We were rescued by Government soldiers.

I don’t know what happened to my mother and father.

Now we are here at Kakuma, life is somehow different for us. Before, our parents took care of us, but now we can only wait for food.

What is good is that now we can have education.

This started when the LWF people met with me in the camp. They told me that even though I am a single mother, and have only Grade 1, I should return to school. They said they will provide the uniform, the text-books, and milk for the children if they must stay with neighbours while I am at school.

They said if you don’t get to school, you will be stuck at home, and your life will go nowhere.

I came back to school because I want to change my life.

My children and I are in danger. We are on our own. Our relatives do not even look for me. That’s why I must finish school, so I can be independent, and look after my children.

It would be good if I could have a lamp so I can do cooking at night for the children. The lamp means we can also study at night. It would be wonderful to have a book so I could read at night.

I would like to see many girls encouraged back to school. I hope I can be an example to other girls who suffered like me. If you share my story, perhaps other girls like me will know there is a way out.”

Elizabeth

You can restore hope for families like Elizabeth’s with your Christmas Action gift.