Overcoming Daily Obstacles
Consider the challenges faced by 17-year-old Jiako. Jiako lives in the village of Bankondji, where she participates in Aumazo’s Ça Fait Du Bien/It Makes Good tutoring program. Only, recently, she had not really been participating. Instead, she appeared confused, demoralized, and unable to focus on her work.
It turns out, Jiako was being ridiculed by her classmates, beaten at home, and shamed by her family. The reason? Jiako had stolen her brother’s tuition money, $10. She needed that money to buy school shoes, so she wouldn’t be expelled from middle school. She needed that money to buy sanitary pads that her grandmother couldn’t afford for her. And she needed that money to pay her high school exam application fee. Jiako had worked out a plan for repaying the $10, but no one gave her the chance to explain.
Jiako might have let any of these obstacles keep her out of school, as many girls do. But Aumazo leaders were there to help – to listen, to boost her confidence, to support her studies, and to help restore the trust of her family. Today Jiako is doing well, at both school and home, thanks to her involvement in Aumazo’s tutoring program, the renewed respect of her classmates, and the relationship she’s rebuilt with her family.
While Jiako’s experience is unique, her challenges are not uncommon. A number of factors threaten girls’ continued education in Cameroon. Here are just a few.