Sharifa’s Blog from Tanzania: “I will make sure every child’s right is given.”
For 25 years, the 16th of June has marked the Day of the African Child – a time for the world to reflect on the grave injustices inflicted on the most marginalized children and the incredible potential wasted every day that a child is denied his or her right to a quality education, and a safe and independent life.
Camfed celebrates the power and determination of young people across Africa every single day. Meet Sharifa from Bagamoyo, Tanzania, our Day of the African Child blogger. She represents millions of girls across sub-Saharan Africa. An orphan who had to depend on teachers for food, she could easily have been among the 28 million girls who are left behind, unable to access an education. Her resilience and strength come from the network of support Camfed galvanizes around the most marginalized – with parents, alumnae, teachers, officials and traditional leaders giving whatever time and resources they possess to change the context for children to learn and thrive:
“My name is Sharifa. I am 17 years old. I am the second born in a family of three children. My father died when I was two years old. After my father died I lived with my mother until I was seven years old, then my aunt came and took me to stay with her because mother could no longer support me. After some time my aunt’s husband died, and life in the house changed, and it became very difficult for my aunt to support me, so I moved back to the village to stay with my grandmother. My mother moved to the Northern part of Tanzania, and when she moved there she gave birth to another child. The child was born premature and was physically disabled. In 2011 my mother came back with the child. My mother was very sick with different illnesses and soon she died.
Life was difficult living with my grandmother because she does not have a job and depends on her children to support her, especially with food. Sometimes they did not send any money so we often went hungry. I used to depend on my primary school teachers. I would say, ‘Today we don’t have anything to eat.’ They would be able to help me….”