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Hear Our Voices - Sudan

Bhahkita wants to be an engineer

 Eleven-year-old Bhahkita's day starts at 5am. First she milks the goats, then boils the milk, washes the kitchen utensils and prepares tea for the family. She also has to hel[p with the baby.

Bhahkita attends the nomadic Goes El-Markh school, in the Sodary province of Kordofan State. During the school break just after midday, she runs home together with two of her friends, Leila and Hawa, to collect jerry cans and donkeys to fetch water from one of the hand pumps located some 5 km from the village. On their return, the donkeys are offloaded and the girls take them out again to collect firewood. This takes them about 8 km away from home in another direction. At least twice a week, the girls must also fill up the 400-litre drum that provides water for the school.

Bhahkita wants to be an engineer so that she can “build water pumps and better houses in my community.”

The UNICEF-supported nomadic school only goes up to grade four, midway up the primary education ladder. The community wants the State Ministry of Education to support expanding the school to grade eight, but this may not happen before Bhahkita finishes school in a year's time.

It may be possible for Bhahkita to relocate to the nearest town, Umbadri, and attend a fixed-site school there. Whatever lies in Bhahkita’s future, it is clear that access to quality education is essential to improving the opportunities for girls like her to fulfilling their true potential.

Photo: UNICEF  

 

Copyright  © 2003  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs