September 20, 2020

The struggle to educate girls in a Haiti with schools closed

The image of a little girl on her bicycle, in the middle of a mass demonstration in Haiti, protesting to have her school reopened, has become a symbol for a double party.

The young Leika Jean Noel, who is in second grade, has become a benchmark for the opposition movement and is also shown as a paradigm of the difficulties experienced by Haitian children to be educated.

"I need school and food," summed up little Leika, in statements to a web journalist Ted Actu, in a video that has been viralized among protesters who paralyze Haiti for almost a month demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.

Schools have been closed throughout Haiti since anti-government protests broke out on September 16, just a week after the start of the school year.

Since then, two million children remain at home without classes, a situation that has aggravated the delicate situation of the education system.

Although there has been a significant increase in school attendance in Haiti in the last decade, the enrollment rate of children, the number of days spent in school and the quality of education remain among the lowest from Latin America and the Caribbean.

"The low level of education predominantly affects women and is one of the factors that explains their early and unqualified entry into the labor market," says the UN in a document entitled "Facts and key figures on the situation of women in Haiti ", which was published in November 2017 but is still fully valid.

The feminist activist Marcna Andy Pierre points out to Efe that "in rural areas the situation is even more precarious, as families continue to give priority to the schooling of boys over girls, which are considered as possible helpers in the home ".

In August, this feminist launched a Demwazèl platform, whose goal is to reinvent the way girls are educated, since, as she points out, the education they receive in early childhood recently to encourage them to have dreams, set goals and Empower yourself to reach them.

"In their teens, if they have attended school, dropping out of school remains an obstacle to building a better future for themselves. As a result, women in Haiti are the main victims of the impoverishment of the under-educated masses that often they depend on informal trade to survive, "says the activist.

In addition, he emphasizes that "marriage is considered a greater advantage for a woman than a university degree," so it is a factor that discourages them from combining studies with family life.

Inequality is becoming more evident among people with higher education, a level that only reaches 6.1% of women, while 11.8% of graduates are men, according to UN data.

In its report, the international organization also notes that job insecurity is one of the factors that have contributed to the feminization of poverty in Haiti, the poorest country in America.

And the serious economic and political crisis that the country is going through led the Government to reduce the amount allocated to education from 17% to 11% of the national budget in the last year.

The International Day of the Girl, which takes place this October 11, was established in 2012 and in this edition the UN wants to highlight the growing role of minors in social activism, "showing their unique power when mobilizing and lead. "

Milo Milfort

. (tagsToTranslate) fight (t) educate (t) Haiti (t) schools (t) closed

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