A Journey to School: Balancing School and Work
Twelve-year-old Maria has to juggle her schoolwork with supporting her family.
“My mother is sick and our father abandoned us while I was still inside my mother's womb, so every morning I wake up at 4 a.m. to take some goods to the nearby market. I sell these things even before I get to school, as the money I earn is used to buy food for my family.”
Maria puts her needs after those of her mother and her siblings. As a result, she often attends school without eating breakfast and does not have a proper school uniform.
“Going to school on an empty stomach is difficult. It is also difficult to study when your classmates look down on you because you have tattered clothes,” she says.
Regardless of her current circumstances, Maria’s school is supported by Plan’s Learn Without Fear campaign which provides children with a safe learning environment.
As the sole provider for her family, Maria is determined that she can work and attend school. As soon as school ends for the day, she heads over to a nearby street where she sells her vegetables.
“Being in school gives me the opportunity to have a better life,” explains Maria. “Once I’ve completed my education, I just want to get a job that will put food on the table and enable me to send my younger siblings to school."