Loading...
Rising Voices: Dreams for My Daughter
Now Watching
Rising Voices: Dreams for My Daughter
In rural Ghana, children often struggle to get an education, with girls missing out far more frequently than boys of a similar age. But 12-year-old Elizabeth Napari, through her family's sacrifice, is taking advantage of changing attitudes.
Flash Player 9.0.115+ or HTML5 video support is required to play this video.
 
Loading...

Produced by UNICEF and the Public Affairs Media Group.

Loading...

Share this video

Include start time Get current time
Include related videos, articles & actions
Loading...

Segment 1

TITLE
Rising Voices
TITLE
Dreams for My Daughter
ELIZABETH NAPARI
My name is Elizabeth. I come from Tarikpaa. I am 12 years old.
VOICEOVER
Elizabeth Napari is making the one-hour trek from her village to the family farm. There, her parents, Peter and Ayishetu, toil as subsistence farmers, feeding a family of six on what they can grow.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
We farm yam and maize and cassava.
VOICEOVER
It's a cycle of poverty and illiteracy that goes back for generations, until Elizabeth. For this child can re-write her entire family history by getting an education.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
I want to look after my parents.
VOICEOVER
It's a heavy goal for any child, but for Elizabeth, whose father had to drop out of school to work these same fields, this is the stuff of dreams.
BIIKOOK KONLAN [UNICEF Educations Officer]
Without education, you have no future in this part of the country.
VOICEOVER
And no one knows that struggle better than Education Officer Biikook Konlan.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
I relate to Elizabeth. I came from an ordinary background. Elizabeth is coming from an ordinary background. I came from a rural community. Elizabeth is coming from a rural community, and our parents are both illiterate. They are peasant farmers, and yet I rose to do my bachelor's. I've done my master's, and I'm working with UNICEF as an education officer. You just need perseverance and focus that there is light at then end of the tunnel.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
Because I'll know many things in the world when I go to school.
PETER NAPARI [Elizabeth's father]
This is the maize we grind to prepare porridge.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
Elizabeth's father went to school up to grade three and dropped out.
VOICEOVER
Peter's father needed his son's help on the farm to make ends meet, a common problem in this poor community.
PETER NAPARI
I am regretting it today. My life would have been better than this.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
The child in the rural area, seeing that the parents are ordinary, struggling to make ends meet -- if I have to break this cycle that my parents are going through in terms of being farmers or peasant farmers, then the only hope is for me to study.
PETER NAPARI
This is my house, which I mixed mortar to build.
VOICEOVER
Elizabeth is the eldest of the four Napari children still at home, a daughter in a culture that traditionally prizes sons.
PETER NAPARI
I see Elizabeth is good in school, so I am determined to help her to succeed in education.
VOICEOVER
Peter makes sure his daughter and her siblings go to school each and every day.
VOICEOVER
"Johnny, Johnny, Johnny," the children sing at morning assembly. "He's my boy. I send him to school to learn how to write his name." It's the same song Biikook sang as a boy, but at this child-friendly school, the emphasis is as much on girls as it is on boys. Traditionally, in this village, girls get married, not educated.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
The parents consider that, when your daughter becomes a woman in your home, then the next month she should be married out. Otherwise, she would become immoral, and that would bring a case upon you, the parents. That is actually an obstacle to girls' education in this community.
VOICEOVER
Tarikpaa is an agricultural village in the north of Ghana, near the city of Tamale. The Napari children are educated here at Tarikpaa Primary School, along with some 400 other village kids. Elizabeth is in grade six. Her younger brother is in kindergarten.
CHILDREN
I eat to grow.
ELIZABETH DE-SOUZA [Northern Regional Director of Education, Ghana]
Tarikpaa Primary School is one of the schools in the northern region that UNICEF has supported.
VOICEOVER
Ghana's Regional Education Director, Elizabeth De-Souza, is a champion of the child-friendly school's approach.
ELIZABETH DE-SOUZA
Looking at the three principles -- child-centered, democratic participation of the children, and inclusiveness principles -- we have all these principles at work in the school.
BOY [Student]
L-I-N-G. Kneeling.
ENOCH ABUKARI [Teacher]
Is he correct?
CHILDREN
Yes.
ENOCH ABUKARI
Clap for him.
ELIZABETH DE-SOUZA
It's a safe environment where we have all the facilities like the school playing field, the school infrastructure. They are all child-centered. There is democratic participation by the child in the classroom. It's a place that the child can freely express himself or herself. She can freely ask questions.
ENOCH ABUKARI
Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
They were going home from school.
VOICEOVER
Elizabeth's class has 42 students in it. Materials are in short supply, as are trained teachers.
ENOCH ABUKARI
I was born and bred in the village. The way I suffered before I became who I am today, I feel I should do the same to help those who are also in the village.
VOICEOVER
Enoch Abukari is one of only two teachers here with any formal training, something child-friendly schools are committed to changing.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
So that actually also goes to impinge on quality, in terms of delivery, in terms of the absorption of the children, on their ultimate learning outcomes at the end of grade six or nine.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
Ghana. Your Ghana. My Ghana. Our Ghana. Ghana, the land of peace, land of riches, land of ...
VOICEOVER
Outside the open-air classes, village life drifts past. A herd of cows is tended by a not-so-lucky village boy.
BOY [Herder]
I was attending school and I got to class six when my father withdrew me.
VOICEOVER
Echoing Peter Napari's story, the boy tells us his father needs him to tend cattle.
BOY
I wish I could be in school.
VOICEOVER
Keeping children in school is a major battle for educators in Ghana.
ELIZABETH DE-SOUZA
Some of them still drop out of school to support their parents or sometimes to go to the south to look for jobs, which sometimes are not there, opening them to a whole lot of hazards.
VOICEOVER
Traditionally, the north of Ghana has provided unskilled labor for the more developed south. Less than half the men from this area are educated.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
If I didn't have an opportunity to go to school, I would have been living the life that Mr. Peter Napari is living today. Without education, you have to just till the land, or you become a laborer down south to weed on the cocoa farm or in the mines.
VOICEOVER
But child-friendly schools are striking at the heart of this problem by managing to keep children in school.
ENOCH ABUKARI
Ellie, you wanted to read first? Okay.
VOICEOVER
One tool in this battle is an attractive and relevant curriculum.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
Asabiah fixed a bike. Fatima, Georgina, and Asabiah were walking home from school.
VOICEOVER
Education is free in Ghana, but that doesn't mean there aren't heavy costs for families.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
They are not able to support their children, both boys and girls, in terms of buying their schoolbooks, clothing, and other items that would make their children be comfortable to learn in the school.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
This one is my notebook in English.
VOICEOVER
The greatest sacrifice, though, may be the loss of the child's labor.
PETER NAPARI
Though she doesn't contribute as much to the household chores and farm work, which has increased our burdens, we are still determined that she completes her schooling.
VOICEOVER
Helping ease the amount of daily chores is directly related to freeing kids up for school.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
I went to fetch water for my family every morning.
VOICEOVER
And fetching water is one of the most intensive chores of all. Here, UNICEF has made an invaluable contribution to the community by providing ample clean water through wells, so it no longer consumes Elizabeth's day. At school, there are also two wells, also separate toilets for girls and boys. Elizabeth and her best friend, Naomi, diligently practice the good hygiene they are learning at school.
NAOMI
Our teachers taught us how to wash our hands before eating.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
Because if you didn't wash your hands and go home and use it to eat, you'll get disease from that.
ELIZABETH DE-SOUZA
Whatever she learns in school has effects in the home, and this is for the benefits for the parents and for the other siblings.
PETER NAPARI
Yes, she has taught me many things. She tells us that they have been taught in school to be neat and always wash their hands with soap after using the toilet and before eating. Now she cleans the house any time she sees it's dirty.

Segment 2

VOICEOVER
Elizabeth's day begins at dawn. All the hours before and after school are consumed with chores.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
When I wake up in the morning, I will pray, and come and wash my face and brush my teeth and bathe and go and fetch some water and drink porridge and go to school.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
When she closes from school at 1:30, after she arrives home, she sets off again to go and fetch water from the borehole, comes home, sees the compound again and supports the mother to prepare the evening meal.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
This is the fire. We are cooking in the fire.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
After the evening meal, if she gets the opportunity, that is, if she's not too tired, she uses the one bulb that is in the house to study.
VOICEOVER
It's a grueling schedule, but Elizabeth's mother sees new maturity in her daughter, and she credits the school.
AYISHETU NAPARI [Elizabeth's mother]
There is a difference now. When she was not in school, she did not like cooking, but now she is in school she will voluntarily do her work.
VOICEOVER
For the women of Tarikpaa, life has always been about work, starting at a very early age. Young daughters are routinely given away to relatives as gifts of labor. It's a practice called "fosterage." Elizabeth's mother was also given away to relatives.
AYISHETU NAPARI
I took care of the children. Every morning I had to sell cola nuts before returning home to fetch water for the family. Afterwards, I would go to the bush for firewood. I think that, because I was an adopted child, that was why I did not go to school.
VOICEOVER
And she, in turn, has given three of Elizabeth's older sisters to fosterage, yet there is no question in her mind that if she had gone to school, her life would be quite different today.
AYISHETU NAPARI
I wouldn't have been like this. Maybe I would have had meaningful work.
ELIZABETH DE-SOUZA
Through the sensitization of parents, they grow to know the importance, because the child is not just living for today. Every child has a future.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
I want to be a doctor because there is no hospital or doctor in this village.
VOICEOVER
School is giving Elizabeth a place to grow her dreams.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
I-N-S-I-S-T-E-D. Insisted.
ENOCH ABUKARI
Is she correct?
CHILDREN
Yes.
ENOCH ABUKARI
Clap for her.
ELIZABETH NAPARI
If I become a doctor, I will have money to buy a car so that if any sick person is referred to another hospital for treatment, they will use my car to transport the patient.
ENOCH ABUKARI
I said, "That is a good idea. It's really a nice dream." So, I said what you need to do is study hard, be a good girl, don't play about when it is time for you to study, and don't follow bad friends. Make sure you are always on your books, and do everything you can so that you become who you want to be.
VOICEOVER
Attracting committed teachers like Enoch Abukari to the rural areas and supporting them once they get there is critical to the school's success.
ENOCH ABUKARI
Life in the village is not all that easy. You don't get facilities like electricity. Things like hospitals are not there. We don't have good drinking water in the village.
VOICEOVER
To help draw teachers, the school has built a new teacher dormitory right next door.
ENOCH ABUKARI
This is the cottage to Tarikpaa Primary School. Seven teachers live here, and this is where I live, too. These are the things I use to fetch my water, and this is what I use to prepare my meals. This thing you see is something we use to keep chicken. I made it with the children in my class. I taught them how to weave. We are yet to complete it in our next lesson of creative arts. The most important thing is to get up in the morning, go to your workplace ... to teach, go and teach, come back, and get a place to sleep.
VOICEOVER
Having teachers live on campus also cuts down on rampant teacher absenteeism, a serious problem in Ghana. On average, teachers miss about 43 days in a school year. But not in Tarikpaa. Here, the goal is to fully integrate school and community, and its success is evident at a packed parent-teacher association meeting. This parent asks about monitoring children when parents are away for long hours during the harvest. It all works because, through the child-friendly school approach, the emphasis on participation has made parents the clear stakeholders.
ELIZABETH DE-SOUZA
They regard them as part of the school, so they have regular meetings with them to discuss challenges and other issues in connection with the school, so they involve them from the word go, so that they also sensitize them that they are part and parcel of the school, so they are involved in decision-making, not just demanding things from them.
VOICEOVER
And no one is more on board than the village chief, Abukari Alhassan. He tells us their heroes were once their greatest warriors, but now, he says, our heroes are our children, our children who go to school. And with that, he blesses his own kids and sends them off to Tarikpaa Primary School. Still, changing traditional views on men's and women's roles is a slow process for this village. Gender sensitization is an important aspect of the school. A school play depicts the bias against educating girls.
GIRL
Allyma must go to school.
BOY
Do not speak like that, woman. School is good for boys. Don't you know that girls who go to school are not respectful?
GIRL
That is not true. Can't you see our daughter is a smart girl? She will do well in school and make us proud.
BOY
Girls don't go to school. It is not good to marry a woman who has gone to school.
GIRL
Who says so?
BOY
The woman's place is in the kitchen and for doing household chores.
VOICEOVER
Yet Elizabeth's father could not be further from the local male stereotype.
PETER NAPARI
I am different from my peers because I tasted school a little and know its benefits. There are women teachers in the school and female doctors in the hospital. These are the things that motivate me to send my daughter to school.
VOICEOVER
But when we asked Elizabeth about her father's sacrifice, she grew silent, even tearful, and would not answer.
PETER NAPARI
She may be feeling that life should have been better for us. When she thinks of the hardship that we are going through, it makes her weep.
ENOCH ABUKARI
I think she is just thinking about the family, and where they are coming from.
VOICEOVER
Remembering all the while her father's failed dream and the price he is paying for her.
BIIKOOK KONLAN
With focus and determination, you can come from the ordinary and grow up to be somebody. I'm sure that Elizabeth is also going to make it with determination and focus.
PETER NAPARI
We know that, one day, if she completes her schooling and we are still alive, we will benefit from the sacrifices that we are making today.
VOICEOVER
A parent's gift to his beloved daughter, and a loving daughter's determination to fulfill the dream.
TITLE
[end credits]
TITLE
This film brought to you through the support of UNICEF
TITLE
Public Affairs Media Group