“I will never forget the days when I waited by the school gate for my mother to bring me the $5 school administration fees I needed for each school term. While primary school is free in Fiji, we needed to pay a supplementary school administration fee in order to go to school. I still remember sitting in fear with tears in my eyes by the school gate waiting for my mother. I watched the road for the bus, and with each bus that went by without my mother getting off, my heart would sink. I was paralyzed by fear because I did not want to be sent home.
Since then, I have never stopped believing in how far $5 can go in a poor girl’s life. My parents often could not afford to send all my siblings to school. I was the youngest, so that $5 fee needed to stay in school came last to me. I would worry every term that this time there wouldn’t be enough. That $5 represented my dreams, my happiness…and my future. Milk was a luxury we couldn’t afford, but somehow, my mother managed to feed us a diet that was basic and filling while saving every penny she could. She would travel a great distance each week to put what she had saved in a savings account to pay for our schooling. Having that $5 each term to stay in school changed my life.”
The multi-lingual Praveen now holds master’s degree in science and international relations and is Development Director of Trust Africa. She is a shining example of the benefits of educating a girl.
Today is International Day of The Girl.
All over the world there are more stories like Praveen’s story, but there are so many other girls clamoring to go to school. 77.6 million girls worldwide are not enrolled in school and are waiting to be as lucky as Praveen to go some day.