Personal Stories

Charity Atem

Charity Atem clean water for Africa Drop in the BucketCharity Atem is 16 years old and is a student at the Alela Modern Primary School in northern Uganda. Drop in the Bucket has been working at the Alela Modern Primary School for several years now and has spent time with the head teacher, a man named Christopher Elem.
Charity is doing very well at school and her test scores are excellent, however her parents recently decided they could no longer afford to pay the school fees for both her and her brother.  They decided they wanted to get her married so that they would only have to continue paying for her brother’s education.
The bright 16 year-old was extremely frustrated by the whole situation and is exasperated by the fact that her community, and many others in this area think it is wasteful to spend money on educating girls. When you talk to the parents they say that the girls will get married and stop working once they have children, so therefore educating boys is far more of a priority. But as we have seen over and over again in the developing world, educating girls is one of, if not the most effective way of moving communities out of poverty,
According to data collected by UNICEF educated women are more productive at home and better paid in the workplace, and more able to participate in social, economic and political decision-making. Also educated girls are likely to marry later and have fewer children, who in turn will be more likely to survive and be better nourished and educated. Another key point UNICEF makes is that educating a girl dramatically reduces the chance that her children will die before the age of five.
Christopher Elem, the head-teacher at Charity’s school decided that losing a student of her ability and potential was unacceptable, so he went to her parents and told them that he would take them to court if they denied their daughter the opportunity to get an education, and fortunately they relented and allowed her to stay in school alongside her brother.
For Charity things are going well. Because of her head-teacher’s intervention, her parents allowed her to return to class and she recently passed the national exams. She’s headed to high school next term and hopefully a bright future. With education everything is possible for these children.