The Value of an Education for Young Women in Uganda
Abortion is the removal of unwanted pregnancy. It was during the time of the elections, February 2016, when a girl called Nabwire Brenda was going to die because of abortion. This girl was a friend of mine, and we used to converse about education issues, such as how to succeed in the future, and how to reach the determined goals you want.
I last talked to her in 2015, and we almost spent our holidays in the same village, Kamudooke. After our holidays, everyone went to their parents’ places, but Brenda was staying at her sister’s place in Kamudooke, and I was with my grandparents. We had no way of talking to each other when the two of us left each other. When I was joining my Senior Two class, we came back to school in the first term. It was January 29, 2016. Our parents prepared for us and we came back to school. But when we reached school, we found very few students, and out of the 600 students, only 100 had already arrived on campus.
The school staff decided to dismiss us from the campus, since it was during election time. And, as you know, during elections, people involved themselves in bad behaviors, like fighting one another and even killing other people in many different areas of Uganda. I think this is what made some students choose not to come back as early as possible. So, the school administration told us to go back to our homes until the election was over, and we took one week and two days. But due to high costs, as our transportation back home was expensive, I decided to go to my grandparents’ place, since it was less expensive to travel to them.
Fortunately, when I reached my grandparents, my sisters, Nayme Phoibe and Kysasira Esereda, told me that Brenda also came back. I was so happy to hear that, because we hadn’t communicated with each other in a while.
After that day, I went to their home and I found her doing domestic work, like cooking food. She was so happy to see me, and I was happy to see her as well. She cooked bananas and dried fish. After eating, Brenda escorted me back to my grandparents’ place. We used to meet at the borehole daily. But as the elections got closer, Brenda was nowhere to be found. I went to her home and asked her mother where Brenda had gone. She told me that she went to her grandmother’s place in Isiita to see her and help her with some work, such as cooking or her or fetching water.
However, after one week, some of her friends found me at the borehole and told me that Brenda went to have an abortion. My heart skipped a beat and I was not happy at all. Her sister returned and told me Brenda was about to die. I went and saw her, and Brenda was crying because of the serious pain she was feeling. I gave her 10’000UGX (roughly £2.50) for treatment. I used to go and check on her, but the situation was not changing at all. I cried because she was my best friend.
They gave her a transfer to another hospital, and operations were taken up. The doctors told her family that too much blood remained in her intestines and the intestines were about to rot—but because of God’s mercy and our prayers, she survived.
But after Brenda recovered, she told her mother that she wouldn’t go back to school. Her mother started crying, because Brenda was her firstborn. She tried to tell her to study, but Brenda refused. I used to give her advice about the problems we girls face in our generation, but she totally refused.
I conclude by saying that we girls of this generation face a lot of challenges. Some of this can make girls lose access to good futures. But if you don’t study in the world we live in today, it can be impossible to find true peace and progress in your life. So, I encourage you, my fellow students, that there is time for everything. First, put all of mind and heart into your education. Then, the problems you face won’t feel as unbearable.
Esereda Kisakye is a member of the Teen Voices program of the women’s empowerment organization, WIL Uganda–Women in Leadership. She is 16 years old and advocates for equal education opportunities for boys and girls.