Children's Education Foundation wants girls to have a future with choices. What does that demand?
An education is needed to have choices:
If you are uneducated your choices are severely limited here. The future of an uneducated female looks like what I see almost every day; an early marriage to a so so man, the first child within the first year of marriage, some verbal and physical abuse, struggle to make ends meet and then the cycle continues with them not being able to afford to educate their children. Or it might be the other common option we see; no marriage, no permanent man and one, two or three children, and they struggle to make ends meet and find it almost impossible to send any of the children to school. At present we are helping quite a few single mothers with the education costs for their children.
But the cycle is inclined to continue and continue.... female, traditional and cultural conditioning is very strong in such traditional societies as in Vietnam. With a decent income at least it removes most of the daily back-breaking struggle. but hat is not enough to make conscious wise choices outside of the traditions one knows.
What else does it take to have a future with choices:
What does it take for a young woman in Vietnam to be brave enough, bold enough and knowledgeable
enough to take a different step forward in a society that doesn't
encourage such conscious modern boldness at all?
A girl I know is getting married this week and her situation has triggered me to complete working on an additional program we can do here besides giving academic education to many girls. She is an intelligent, English-speaking,
university-educated 26 year old woman and is choosing to marry a lazy
uneducated man, who is also a heavy drinker. His family are traditional
vegetable farmers and she will now have to get up at 3am to pick the
vegetables before the sun rises. At 6am when she finishes she will get ready for work, eat her breakfast and then go to her
daytime job. Her parents are intelligent and have not done everything
totally traditionally. Her mother for example married late, is hard
working and is now a student Buddhist nun and her husband
accepts this. He is an intelligent hard-working man.
Her choice will mean a hard life; this seriously struck home how strong our female, traditional and cultural conditioning is that a choice like
that can be made! There are many good traditions here, which I don't want girls to deny or
reject, but in a society that teaches by rote, being reflective and
making conscious choices out of the mold is rare here.
The program I am working I hope will start the process of the girls we work with being more reflective, and conscious of the choices they make.