Atika Abukakar lives in Kajiji village in Shagari local government area of Sokoto state. It is a community where many girls spend many hours during the day collecting firewood in the bushes.
Though Atika wanted to get an education, she dropped out after attending school for a week.
“My parents withdrew me from school because the teacher hardly came to school and we played a lot. They said I will be more useful helping around the home,” she says.
Having very few options for education within the community and not wanting her to go to school far away from home, her parents enrolled her in an Islamic school, which focused on memorizing verses from the holy book but did not include literacy or math.
Her father, Abubakar, knew the value of education. He had a son who was educated and working. Abubakar had also attended a basic literacy class.
Fortunately, state and local education officials identified the Kajiji village’s needs. In collaboration with the USAID Northern Education Initiative Plus, an Adolescent Girls Learning Center was established in in the village. It answered the prayers of many parents like Abubakar.
Since the learning center is located close to home, the girls find it convenient to attend class and still have time to help with domestic chores.
Now that Atika has been attending the center for a while were she is learning to read and write, her father’s expectations of her has increased.
“If we have the opportunity, I will allow her further her education till she qualifies to practice whatever career she has chosen. As long as there is life, she can always get married,” he says.
But Atika wants to remain within her community. Her dream is to become a teacher and serve as a role model to encourage other girls to go to school.
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