Teachers, along with international aid groups, are working on increasing education for girls in Darfur, Sudan.
Amani Abdul Baker, once a student, sits at home to do daily house chores as her father was forced to take her out of school due to lack of funds. Amani is like many Darfur women of her generation as many of them can’t afford to attend school.
In Nyala, the capital of the South Darfur, education is seen as something Amani’s family can’t provide her with due to limited financial resources.
However, she is positive and hopes that this will change, and other girls might be able to attend school in future.
“When I’m staying at home and I see other girls go to school it makes me sad,” she said.
“In this village, there are more girls at home than at school,” she added.
In Sudan’s Darfur region resources are limited, with a shortage of desks, chairs, books and stationery, which make education tough.
The girls who can attend school consider themselves the lucky ones, especially those who could have stayed home to help with household tasks.
More than fifty percent of the South Darfur girls will never receive education or even be admitted to a classroom due to either poverty or the widespread early marriage.
Habiba Ahmed, a fifteen-year-old, is one of the few girls in this region who was fortunate to receive education. She hopes one day to become a nurse.
Habiba and her classmates feel secure, with support of their teachers along with the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) program, which forces parents to leave girls in school.
The program aims at promoting the idea that it is morally acceptable for girls to receive education which does not keep them away from their family. This, however, is still a threat in rural areas where education is seen as a threat to traditional values.
Fatima Noor, a head teacher, is working hard to change this perception.
“We can convince parents that our prophet Mohammed told us to search for education from childhood to old age. To get educate is an obligation for men and women alike," she said.
South Darfur is currently suffering from a devastating humanitarian state since 2003, following a war between the Sudanese government and the non-Arab natives of Darfur.
While protracted peace negotiations are ongoing, large parts of the population continue to face major food shortages, violence and disease.