PERMA VILLAGE, Cameroon, 17 November 2009 Hawa Mahmadou, 12, was devastated when she was forced to drop out of school two years ago because her parents couldnt afford the fees. She spent her days doing household chores.
Hawa comes from the village of Perma in northern Cameroon, where traditional practices, as well as poverty, keep girls at home. Parents see boys as the main breadwinners and prefer to send them to school, thereby reducing primary school enrolment rates for girls.
But now, Hawa is able to study again thanks to the National Network of Mothers Associations for Girls Education (known by its French acronym, RECAMEF), a non-governmental organization supported by UNICEF and composed of mothers who go from village to village and convince parents to send their daughters to school.
The network covered Hawas parent-teacher association costs of around $3 and provided her with books; as a result, she was able to start attending classes in September.
I would like to become a medical doctor in the future so that I can cure sick people, she said.