I saw this question recently posted on Redhead Writing — I do love her.
I pondered the question for about 12 seconds —- If you could change ONE THING in this world, what would it be?
My thing to change is that our young girls, especially our girls in the bottom rung of our socio-economic ladder are exposed to sexual education, life skills, and more importantly the concept that they can do so much, so much with their lives if they are able to hold off having children, or contracting HIV through sex at a young age.
I am not suggesting that boys are not equally exposed, but my heart and my soul goes out to girls — maybe because I was a girl child at one point.
I did not grow up in a rich suburb. I was lucky enough to grow up in a white suburb in the 80’s. In comparison to what girl children were exposed to in townships probably looked like something on the level of Bishops Court.
There were several girls in my school who were pregnant in Standard 8 or Standard 10.
Without going into way too much detail — I held off having sex in my teens because I was so shit scared of being pregnant and married to some guy in a blue overall, and this would be my life. My mom had her first child at 17. I really really did not want to have a child, and my life, my ambitions, my belief that there was something more out there for me, to come to a grinding halt.
I am not suggesting that having a baby at 15 or 18 is a death sentence, but realistically if you do not have some financial, emotional, and social support it does make life a bit of a challenge.
Young girls in our townships are not being educated to believe that they can actually move out of their situations —- they are not being upskilled that life is there to be grabbed, and is easier to grab if you do not have a baby at 15 or 12 years old.
Our country does not have the social support system to support a young girl with a baby.
Our social system cannot support a person with TB.
Odds of there being resources to assist a 15 year old with a baby, living in a shack, with 9 other people, is fairly limited, even on the most positive days. Even on days when our faith in South Africa is at an all time high.
I wish for our girls, that they could believe and see that life with education, and no babies when they are babies, offers them so much more.
It is still difficult, it is still going to be rough — but not having a baby, and finishing school, and working hard, and finding ways out of poverty is easier without a child.
Children are lovely —- children are great, but not when you are a teen, with no education, no money, and very little in the way of opportunities.
I am not sure how to word this well –but my one thing, and I am sure if I thought hard I would and think of a thousand things, but today, my one thing is to change the lives and open the minds of girls in our townships/poor areas.
This was my original comment on her facebook page:
That young girls are given the sexual education they need and the life skills that our society robs of our children, both boys and girls — at a very early age. That young girls understand that if they are able to delay having a child — especially in our society — I live in South Africa — they are able to open a world of opportunities and access to education, and access to a better life than what is being denied to them at the moment. There is a strong preference for our girls — young girls in our townships — to acquiring Sugar Daddies. It has status. It gives them access to a few rands per month. It also makes them fall victim to rape, abuse, AIDS and being abandoned with a baby. These are girls as young as 11 or 12. Right now it is an insurmountable problem. We have very little in the way of social support, and a young girl with a baby, is pretty much left to fend for herself, denied education, denied medication, denied a life really. Okay, possibly mine was a bigger ask that you wanted in your question.
What is your – If you could change ONE THING in this world, what would it be?