Poverty Can Steal a Child's Dream
Rania had always dreamed of becoming an engineer and she studied hard to make her dreams come true.
However, when Rania’s father suffered a stroke, his condition limited the number of hours that he could work. As a result, the family’s income decreased, priorities shifted, and educating the children was no longer of importance.
“This made it hard for me at school. Every time I was asked to buy certain number of textbooks, my father could only afford to buy half the number required. I faced many embarrassing situations at school, especially when the headmaster came to the class and called my name. He strongly rebuked me for not paying the school fees by the due date, asking me not to come to school till they were paid,” Rania said.
After the incident, Rania’s father felt that the cost of sending Rania to school had become a burden. Determined to play a role in securing a better future for her family, she dropped out of school at the age of 11 and began working in a clothing factory.
“I used to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. without a break. Only when the shift supervisor found me or the other girls exhausted, he would allow us to eat while we were working but only for less than 30 minutes. But what made me carry on was the knowledge that with my 390 dollars each month, my siblings could continue their education,” Rania says.
At the age of 15, Rania joined a child labor program implemented by Plan in cooperation with the Community Development Association in Rania’s community. The program aims to protect working children from dangerous situations and provides them with vocational skills training that will enable them to leave hazardous occupations behind for safer job opportunities.
“I received hairdressing training and eventually got a job at a beauty salon close to my home. Now, I earn more money. Not only that, I also attend the community school where I am trying to make up for the years I was out of school,” Rania adds.