By Charly Agwam, Bauchi

A 17-year-old teenager, Maryam Alhassan, from Barkoti, Ningi Local Government Area of Bauchi State, is elated to be attending school for the first time after her encounter with the School-based Management Committee, SBMC, of Sabuwa-Tiffi Primary School, Ningi.

Until two months ago, Alhassan, the breadwinner of her family would hawk kunu (milled millet drink) in the morning and boiled groundnut in the afternoon in various schools around Ningi, to sustain her family, even though she has been nursing the desire to go to school like other children.

“I really wish to go to school like other children. Every time I see other children in their classes, I wish I were them. I am 17 years old and I live with my parents. I would love to help my parents with their finances but I also want to attend classes like others.

“My father wants to marry me off to somebody from the next village. I have nothing against marriage, but I don’t want to be a powerless wife, who waits for her husband for food. That’s why I am begging for a chance to get education, so that I can be useful to myself and the society.

“My parents have seven children but I am the only one who has never been to school. I wish I could ask my father why he didn’t send me to school but I can’t (because of tradition). I hawk different things to help my family. I sell kunu in the morning and then boiled groundnut in the afternoon. I make around N1,500 from selling only kunu,” she had said, while waiting for pupils to patronise her groundnut under a mango tree.

Meanwhile, the school committee for Girls Education Project 3 (GEP3) funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO, of the UK and implemented by UNICEF, intervened through the Chairman of SBMC, Sabuwa-Tiffi Primary School Ningi, Dahiru Ali, who reached out to Maryam’s father to allow her to attend a school like other children in the community

She told Vanguard that her father was receptive to the idea of allowing his daughter to attend school.

His words: “We met Maryam’s father a few weeks ago to know why his daughter has never been to school. After our conversation, he agreed that Maryam can now go to school. However, we will observe her closely to know the appropriate class for her because she has a unique case.”

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