In the North Shoha Ethiopian region, east of the capital Addis Ababa, The Hunger Project is actively working within the Her Choice alliance to end child marriage. In North Shoha, The Hunger Project is focusing on getting drop-outs back to school. Often these are girls who have dropped out of school after a child marriage or teenage pregnancy. The Hunger Project is committed to these girls, so that they can still finish their school and improve their situation – and that of their children. Pictures: Johannes Odé/The Hunger Project
The village of 19-year-old Bizuhaye Terefe is very difficult to reach: Wujiba is far from the main road and can only be reached on foot. Certainly in the rainy season, when all paths are muddy, it requires a lot of perseverance. Bizuhaye lives here with her aunt Genzeb Chebud, together with her 5-year-old son Abity. She has been going back to school for two years.
Bizuhaye is happy that she can go back to school after she had stopped earlier. Bizuhaye: “I was raped when I was 13 and then I became pregnant. That was a very nasty experience. I’m still sad about that. Because I was expecting, I had to quit school – that’s how it works here. I was living with my grandmother at the time because my mother had died a year earlier. After Abity was born, I lived with grandma for a while, but she could no longer care for us. Fortunately my aunt Genzeb then took us home.” Genzeb (48 years old): “Of course I took her home. She is my sister’s daughter! I have five children myself, but two really fit. ”
Back to school
The Hunger Project started the Her Choice program in the region two years ago. Among other things with special activities for girls who left school too early to give them the chance to go back to school. These girls are usually married early or pregnant. They also discovered Bizuhaye. Genzeb: “I was visited by the school director, asking if Bizuhaye wanted to come back to school. Of course I wanted to help her, but I had no money for pens, notebooks, uniform and other school supplies. The Hunger Project then took care of that. Very nice, because that way Bizuhaye was able to go back to school at the age of 17! ”
Become a pilot
Bizuhaye seized this opportunity with both hands: “I really enjoy going back to school. My favorite subject is English. My dream is to become a pilot later, that seems great. I can therefore earn a lot of money and help my family. If I later become a pilot and my future husband has a busy job, I want to plan the arrival of even more children. I certainly want to have 4 children, but I want to be ready for it. Abity can then become a big brother. It will take a while before the time comes. First I want to finish high school and study. And my son will also go to school from next year. ”
In 2018, AISSR / UvA carried out a midline evaluation in collaboration with independent local researchers. Data was collected in 10 countries from 5,204 girls, 3,261 households, 68 health centers and 145 teachers. Read more about the Midline Report here.