First child at 14, divorced at 18: This story will inspire you

by Tolu Orekoya

18-year-old divorcee Hanisa Idris Magama doesn’t flinch at the idea of carrying her 4-year-old daughter, and then sitting with her as they both attend primary school together, seated in the same room. “I will not mind competing with my first daughter in search of knowledge in the same school. After all, I am ahead of her by four years. I can carry her to school every morning,” she told the Sunday Trust newspaper.

As a young girl she was withdrawn from primary school at the age of 12, after attending for only three years. Her parents decided to marry her off at the age of 13; she was divorced 5 years later. For her, this is a second chance that she intends to hold on to. “When I was forced out of the primary school for marriage I was not happy, but I couldn’t oppose my parent’s decision. Now, everything is moving smoothly for me for a brighter future…After the dissolution of our marriage my parents allowed me to return to school to complete my primary school education,” Hanisa narrated.

She is the beneficiary of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), a UNICEF-backed project running in Katsina state. It hopes to improve the lives of young girls, giving them access to basic education by paying their families in return for allowing the girls to attend school. After qualifying families have met the criteria for selection, the scheme pays N5,000 per quarter to families who ensure that their daughters are present at school at least 80% of the time. A pilot programme has been running in nine selected local government areas in the state.

Piloted in 2010, The Katsina government has spent N265 million on the scheme, and has already seen an uptick in the attendance of school girls. According to Hajiya Bilkisu Kaikai, the Special Advisor to Governor Shema on Girl-child Education and Development, over 900 girls have been to the rosters of various primary schools in their locales.

 Hanisa dreams of becoming a medical doctor, and hopes that her children will never have to go through what she did saying, “I will never allow my kids to grow up uneducated. I will do my best to ensure that they acquire both Islamic and western education. I will never allow them fall into a similar condition that I am in now.”

However, sometimes success comes with its own problems. When the headmaster of a school participating in the pilot was contacted, he said that they were in need of more classroom space, due to the increase in student enrolment.

Comments (5)

  1. Whilst I find Hasina's resilience inspiring and the scheme does sound like one that will enable young girls that may otherwise not benefit from a full education to access one, I like previous posters found this 'article' to be very lacking! The reporting is very poor and it reads like its been lifted from another place without the reporter adding anything of worth to it.

    And this has been the case for a number of articles on YNaija. Pls do not become yet another example of a Nigerian project/initiative that starts off well and quickly disintegrates into a pile of mess!

  2. What is inspiring about the story is how a girl that has been through a lot took charge of her life and proceeded to achieve her dreams. It is aimed at inspiring us to still forge ahead and fulfill our plans despite set-backs we may have had and not caring about how much time we may have lost or thinking it is too late for us.

    What bothers me the fact that 5000 is giving to a family ber quarter which amounts to 15000 a year. This means from |January 2010 till date, 31,500,00 should have been spent on 900 girls. How then did the Katsina government end up spending N265,000,000?

  3. @Nike, you penned words to my thoughts. I finished reading, and yea I thought brilliant project. But inspiring? Hmmm not so sure.

    Ynaija, you guys are guilty of this o, twisting headlines that don't deliver in following content. Ohh well still #teamYnaija

  4. Forgive me, I am sometimes English challenged. What is inspiring about this? Please let us be mindful of the fact that when we write, the heading we ascribe to our write-up affects those who choose to read it. What is inspiring about a girl forced to do what adults do and who had her childhood stolen? Yes, she is getting a new lease of life by being able to re-connect with that childhood but 'inspire' is not a word that should feature in this story. It may have been an opportunity to say something about the dangers of doing this or encouraging the 'government' which has supposedly spent so much on the education of girls in a similar situation to legislate and enforce legislation that will prevent this from happening but all of that does not call to mind any inspiration. I know views differ but honestly, the manner this story has been written, does this poor child an injustice!

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