Championing Girls' Rights:
|Dodzi (center) is praised in her|
community for promoting women's rights
Dodzi, 18, is a girl in her final years of secondary school in Togo. Both at school and in her hometown of Bretelle, a Plan partner community, Dodzi is praised for her commitment to promoting women’s rights and access to education for young girls. After a frightful ordeal she experienced, she was inspired to stand up for girls’ rights in her school and village communities.
“Last year I met a boy in my class; he was someone I deeply cared for. We spent all of our time together and so I was so excited to tell him that I was pregnant…but his reaction wasn’t what I expected. He started to distance himself from me until he said he no longer had feelings for me.
I was heartbroken. I didn’t want to see him at school, so I dropped out and went home. My village where my parents live is over 30 miles away from my school. My father was not happy that I had gotten pregnant and dropped out of school; he had a hard time supporting me. So, when the headmaster called my parents to ask them to send me back to school, they quickly obliged.
After returning to school, 7 months into my pregnancy I fell sick. It was a common illness, but because I didn’t have any money for treatment, complications occurred, and I lost my baby. It was an absolutely terrible moment for me. At the hospital, I could only afford the most basic care and I believe this is why I had terrible pains in my hip when I went back to my village.
Educating girls and their parents
Throughout my ordeal, school had been constant. I realized that getting an education should be the most important thing for someone my age. So many girls, or their parents, don’t understand this. Now, I travel home from school to participate in the local children’s club. I’ve set up informal discussion groups for young boys and girls in the community to talk about why it is important for girls to go to and stay in school. It is better to wait to have a family until you have finished school. Now, girls and boys understand that with an education, you can get better jobs. As for me, I’m an example. But this time, for good reasons. My new challenge is to get my bachelor’s degree.”