Research shows that most of the girls in rural Ethiopia leave school for four to five days a month during their menstruation because the school environment isn’t conducive to girls.
Rahel Shifera is one of these students – she was born and raised in the Gew Gew community, in the Oromia region. She is a grade 12 student and the only female who attended high school out of her five sisters.
Rahel Commented, “Girls are very undermined in my community in both their home and their school, they are married off because of their gender. We grow up being treated unfairly – girls are not sent to school as early as boys and the school environment isn’t encouraging to stay in. In my school, there is no water and the gender-segregated latrine isn’t really gender segregated. Since the latrines are close, boys and girls use them interchangeably, which isn’t conducive to getting changed during a period. All of my five sisters gave up on their dreams and left school before they reached 8th grade. I want to change this story.”
Rahel preferred to stay in school despite all the problems she has to face to create a better world for girls in a community like herself.
“I want to be a lawyer to end abuse and to encourage female empowerment. I have learned that female students are not given equal opportunities to males, and they don’t have equal power when they get married. Wives are considered baby machines – husbands have every right to beat and do whatever they want to do to their wives. The women have neither the courage nor the confidence to defend themselves and the law is not protecting them – such things are normal in my community,” says Rahel wisely.
The latrine project imagine1day is about to start in Gew Gew high school will contribute and enable Rahel to chase her dream. Rahel says, “Having gender-segregated latrines will enable me to attend class consistently. I have been a top five student and after the project, I believe I will be a top-ranking student, which will be halfway to my dream. I want to thank imagine1day for the intervention.”