Girls in Uganda Just Want to go to School

Education , Safety and Violence

During our recent trip to Uganda, Girl Up staff and Girl Up Champion Cara Delevingne, got sit down and talk to refugee girls who had just arrived from South Sudan. Thanks to the work of UNHCR girls in Uganda are able to continue their studies. We talked to girls at the Kuluba transition center and the Bidibidi refugee settlement about their journeys to Uganda and their hopes for their futures.

Solome, 17

Photo credit: Edward Echwalu

I am from Yei, South Sudan and arrived to Uganda with only my brother. My mom stayed in Yei. It took my brother and I a week and a half to get here by foot. In South Sudan, I was in grade 8 (P8). I am hoping I can go back to school here. My favorite subjects are social studies, math but the toughest subject is science for me. When I grow up I want to be the Minister of Finance for Uganda or South Sudan. It’s my choice for which country I want to be Minister of Finance. There are some female finance ministers but not many. That’s why I want to be one.

In my life, I’ve experienced hardships in South Sudan. My father didn’t go to school. I want to be educated so that I will be better in my future and work hard for my father and me. If my father wasn’t working, that meant I couldn’t go to school because we couldn’t afford the school fees. I registered myself for school and when I couldn’t pay the fees, I still forced myself to go. The teachers still allowed me to sit for exams. When my father managed to sell a goat, he was able to pay for me to go to school.

Because of the problems in South Sudan, I haven’t completed grade 8. I went to a village for safety and I left all my report cards behind. All my properties are gone, because my house was burned down. They burned my house, all my clothes and my report cards… now there’s no certificate that I have been to school. That’s also why I’m coming here. If I’m going to join the school here, I’ll explain that to them. But now, everything is ok.

Eva, 17

Photo credit: Edward Echwalu

I came from Yei in South Sudan because of the war in Uganda. We cannot settle in South Sudan and we are suffering… the roads, drinking dirty water, sleeping in bushes, people are dying and that’s why we came to Uganda instead. We had heard in Sudan that Uganda is a very good country. That’s why we came here. We took a bus to get here and arrived recently. We came with my family, my father, my mother and my four siblings. I am the second and have three brothers.

Back in Sudan, we were in school until the 9 of July when our school got closed. In school, my favorite subject is math but I also like English and Geography because geography is instilled in the political system of the world. My father supports me in wanting to go to school and says that I’m very clever.

I hope to return to South Sudan, that’s why I’m interested in going to school. I want to be educated so that I will be a responsible woman in my future. Coming to Uganda, I don’t know people here but here, I feel love, community, and help in a way that’s also like I have a relationship with people. I’m sure Uganda is a very good country. I love Uganda and I want to be here in Uganda to finish school.

Jeanette, 15

Photo credit: Edward Echwalu

It took a week to come to Uganda from Yei. My family and I were scared because if people in South Sudan found out you were going to Uganda, they’ll kill you. Robbers will attack you, grab your things, and kill you but things didn’t go that way for us. I have two brothers, four sisters, three of which are younger and the rest older. We were all in school in Yei. I am in Secondary 2 grade but I left school because there was no money for me to go. My family told me they would take me to school and find the money, but now there is no money. My favorite subjects are physics and math. I want to go to a university to be an engineer and find out there what kind of engineering I would like to study. I feel bad that I can’t be in school like my friends. I stay at home now and there’s nothing to do but wait. If my parents get money, then I’ll be able to go to school.

If I could find someone to help me go to school, I’d go to school here. I’m doing better now that I left South Sudan. Even though I am in another country and don’t know the people I am living with, they feel like my relatives. The girls here feel like my sisters even though they are not. I barely met them and they take me in as one of their sisters. That feels good. I came recently and immediately I was able to make friends.

Victoria, 15

Photo credit: Edward Echwalu

I have been here for six months after coming from Sudan. I didn’t come with my family. My sister was supposed to follow me but now I’m alone. I’m staying with my neighbors. I was in school in Yei in primary school. I’m in P6 grade this year. My favorite subjects are mathematics, science and CRE, Christian Religion Education. In CRE, we talk about peace, love, unity and working together. I want to be a doctor because when my mother died there was no one there to take care of her. I want to go to secondary school and need scholarships to support our education.

I want to go back home to be a doctor. If it’s an ok time I would go home to help my people there. My dad is still there. He would be proud if I was a doctor. Here in the camp no one can take care of me here. We need everything: pens, school uniforms, and teachers. We also need food because we get here at 7am and don’t go home until 6pm and there’s nothing to eat.

Sandy, 14

Photo credit: Edward Echwalu

I came from Yei, South Sudan with my aunt. My parents are still in South Sudan but they said they would be back except I don’t know when they’ll come. I also came with my younger siblings, two brothers and one sister. Together we traveled for one week and now I’m the one looking after them. Sometimes we traveled by bus, but we didn’t want to encounter with the rebels on the way so we had to hide in bushes. We met with my aunt on the way.

I feel relieved now that I’m here. I’m attending school here with my two brothers. I like doing science projects and I like my teachers because they are nice. I want to be an accountant and travel to other countries. That’s why I want to attend a university and finish my degree. I don’t want to stop going to school so I can have a chance to be an important person in the future.


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