Every success begins with a dream
Written by Sitan Coulibaly, Linkage, Learning and Voice Communication Manager at OXFAM in Mali
My dream is to become a journalist so that I can travel from village to village to convey information on the rights of young women and girls. I was a young girl powerless in the face of the rural exodus in my village, the de-schooling of young girls, early and/or forced marriage and early pregnancy.
I am Yama Diallo. A right holder on the empowerment project entitled Inclusive Dialogue between young women and girls and their parents in the rural commune of N’Gara of the NGO CITOYENNE.
I am 15 years old and I come from the village of N’Gama in Ségou, the 4th administrative region of Mali. N’Gama is a village experiencing a high level of rural urban exodus because few girls are enrolled in school or get to finish their studies because they are forced to marry when they reach a certain age. This phenomenon is encouraged by parents who influence their children by saying that “have you seen the neighbour’s child? She went to the capital to work and brought a lot of money to her parents, why don’t you do the same”.
I had the same problem with my mum and I was about to leave school to go because it hurt to hear her say that every day.
Before I made my decision I got to know some young girl leaders who are implementing the Inclusive Dialogue between young women and girls and their parents in the rural commune of N’Gara in our village to raise awareness about the issues I listed at the beginning. This meeting was a great opportunity for me because I was about to drop out of school and I don’t know what could have happened to me.
I joined the group and received training on gender-based violence, children’s rights, early and forced marriage, the consequences of rural-urban migration and communication techniques.
Animating my village
After this training I started to have a discussion between my mother and I on the different subjects, at the beginning she did not give me the time because these subjects are considered taboo between mother and daughter. But as time went by and because I understood the importance of education I was able to convince her to let me continue with schooling. She said to me: “My daughter, I didn’t know all these things, the consequences of the de-schooling of girls and the rural exodus, thanks to you I will be able to talk about these subjects with the other mothers. We only see those who bring back money but many girls are raped in the capital and most come back with children and empty hands.
I continued my sensitisations to my peers who wanted to abandon school for the rural exodus, I was able to convince some but not others, but I am not discouraged because I care about this and I will continue.
It is through these sensitizations that I have nurtured a passion for journalism, I would like to finish my studies and become a great journalist communicator to convey as many messages as possible to reach the maximum number of people but most importantly to be able to be in contact with the communities to discuss with them their stories and experiences in order to give the right perspectives to the public.