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UNICEF: "Big Sisters" encourage girls to go to school in Benin

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Uploaded on Apr 20, 2010

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/b...

BEMBÉRÉKÉ, Benin, 20 April 2010 Going to school can be a long, lonely walk for a young girl in Benin. Thats if her parents even let her pursue an education. But a UNICEF-supported scheme of big sistering in 16 districts of this West African country makes the journey enjoyable and serves as a monitoring system to ensure that girls get to school each day.

When I have finished washing myself, I check if my girls have finished washing. If they have, we go to school together so we will not be late to school, says Elaire Gama, 11, who attends the Bembéréké Primary School in a rural farming village in northern Benin.

Big sisters are older girls who volunteer to pick up one to three younger ones every morning. They walk together to and from school, and the elder girl looks after the younger ones at play time.

The other students respect us and they look up to us as if we were teachers, says Elaire. It is clear that she takes her role very seriously.

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