Nourhan's Story


"My heart is sad that I cannot go to school"

Nourhan is a sweet and serious 15‐ year‐old girl in Cairo, Egypt, who dreams of being a doctor.
This is her story...

“I wish to go to school and be a doctor – I like the idea of helping people. But I have never been to school. My mother dropped out of school at the second grade. My mother’s sister and my father’s sister dropped out of school early on as well. The women in my family did not finish school. I did not go to school and my sister did not go to school, but my brothers are going to school.

“Instead I work. My father says that once I am finished paying for my dowry, I can go to school. I work, but my father gets my salary. Each time it is pay period, my father waits for me outside to leave work to take my salary from me. I get paid 600 Egyptian pounds [about $86] per month. This amount is not always consistent. If I miss work, they deduct that from my salary. For instance, this month, I will get only 350 Egyptian pounds.

“My father gives me a chance to speak and he listens to me. He is kind, even if he doesn’t really support me to go to school and tells me I am too old for school. When I make a mistake and he disciplines me, he explains to me why.

“But all I want is an education to know how to read, to learn something where I can give back to my community and to be something more. My heart is sad that I cannot go to school. Every time I see a child going to school, I am sad; I see children going to school every day, so I am sad every day.”

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