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    Meet One Of The Lucky Girls Going To School In Northern Nigeria

    On Day Of The African Child, take a look at what it takes for a girl to go to school in one of the most challenging places for any child to get an education.

    Only 500 kilometers from Borno state, where nearly 300 girls were kidnapped more than one month ago sparking international outrage, a young girl goes to school every day. But she, and others like her, need all the support they can get.

    Meet Nailatu. She’s 12. She has 14 siblings. When she grows up she wants to be a doctor, which is why studying is so important to her. “I want to help people. I want to help my mother, my father, my brothers, my sisters."

    And she’s one of the lucky girls in northern Nigeria that gets to go to school. Out of the estimated 10.5 million children out of school in the country, 60% are in the north of the country – and most of them are girls. Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children in the world.

    Nailatu does it with the support of her family – especially, her father, Kasimu. “I will support her in this with all my heart, until the day I die,” he says. “Even the girls of the neighbours, I make sure they go to school.”

    Kasimu himself never learned to read until he was an adult, which is also why he is making sure that all of his 15 children – “including the 11 girls” – attend class. He also makes sure that Nailatu studies the Koran at the religious school he owns.

    Most children in northern Nigeria only go to such schools, where they learn to memorize the Koran, but not to read or write.

    Nailatu’s day is full. Not only does she attend two schools, she also has chores. The need for children to contribute to daily tasks, or even to their families' incomes, is a big reason why parents keep their children out of school.

    Women like Hadiza are trying to change that. When a student drops out of class, she and other members of the Mothers’ Association will go to the child’s home to speak with the parents.

    “Some don’t have enough money to send the girls back to school. We use the little money we have to help those girls buy pencils and other materials they need.”

    Why do they care?

    “We want more girls to get education so we can have women doing every type of work. We have challenges from men, because most men don’t want women to go out to offices and work. We talk to them to make them understand that it is very important for girls to get an education.”

    Community leaders like Kasimu and Hadiza play a critical role in changing opinions about girls’ education. But it comes down to brave girls like Nailatu who are determined to learn and dream of their futures. Learn how the Girls Education Project will support one million girls do just that here.