Written by our Country Director in Ghana, Eunice Akpeere, the following essay is a depiction of the life of a girl in Ghana.

Waking up in the light of dawn to start the household chores is inevitable to every girl born to any average Ghanaian family especially those in rural communities. Sweeping the compound, setting fire using either firewood or charcoal to heat water for the family to bath and thereafter help the mother to prepare breakfast is a norm to most girls.

With an average family size of eight, breakfast usually demands a lot of time and effort with girls most often having to process cereals, grains and vegetables in the morning before preparing their meals and especially because of the lack of modern storage facilities especially for rural folks.

In areas of water crises she would have to walk for a considerable distance to fetch water from the stream, borehole or a public standpipe depending on which one is accessible. She may be the last to bath the water she fetched and heated or eat the breakfast she prepared, before going to school.

Warihana a class 2 student carring a load of firewood home after reading club.jpg

Tiredness, sleepiness and out of sort maybe her condition in the classroom. The classroom teacher may insult and or cane her for not paying attention and feeling sleepy. She maybe caned by the teacher in duty for going to school late and not being able to perform her early morning duties in school like sweeping the classroom and the school compound. This is the exciting life she is exposed to as luck would have it. Would such a girl like to go and stay in school? Is she strong enough to endure the pain and embarrassment inflicted on her by the teachers for something that is not of her own doing? I can go on with a lot of such questions but the day is still young and her story continues.

While in school she may be thinking of the things she needs to do at home and how to do it easily. So she quickly runs home to eat if there is lunch already prepared by the mother or she prepares lunch to eat with the siblings. She may get an afternoon nap if she is lucky or continue preparing towards supper by washing bowls and fetching water if there is none left at home. 

If it is a market day, the girl might not be lucky to stay in school until school closes as she would have to go to sell with her mother either in their community market or markets in neighbouring communities. Girls with younger siblings may also take over the nursing of their siblings so that their mothers can attend to other business.

After the evening chores she may try to learn before sleeping. If she is fortunate, she may be able to learn a bit before sleeping depending on her endurance level or may not be able to learn due to drowsiness and fatigue. She goes to sleep just to wake up to continue her daily routine the next day.

Such is the life of a girl in Ghana, one which can only be escaped through education.  

shakira carrying firewood she fetched from the bush.jpg