Cassavas, greens, maize and potatoes. With COVID spreading, all children are at home, so she helps out by growing vegetables. As markets are closed and villages are in lockdown, it is her family’s only source of food.
Not going to school might not seem like a big sacrifice, but in her eyes, it is everything.
Because this girl just loves school.
Her favourite subjects are English and social studies. Classmate Joanne is her best friend and they share everything.
It hurts being separated.
“Our teachers used to talk to us about how to guide ourselves, but now there’s no one. You take care of yourself.”
Children on the streets, young girls vulnerable and trying to find money for basic needs. A school prefect with a sense of responsibility beyond her years, it worries her greatly.
Imagine being a young woman in the midst of a pandemic and having to depend on others, maybe even strangers, for money to buy sanitary products.
She decided to teach local girls to make their own. A simple enough task but one that keeps them safe at home, away from predators and COVID.
“I feel bad because at their age they cannot manage. They need to first look for some ways of standing on their own.”
Her enthusiasm does not end with her peers. She tells others about hand hygiene and avoiding crowds. She tries to help protect the elderly and the introverted.
When school started again, the impact of lockdown could be seen everywhere. Pregnancy and early marriage meant that many girls wanted to drop out of school. It became her mission to encourage them to stay and build a future. To think of the long term. A better future.
A future beyond COVID.
is 18 years old and lives in Nebbi with her family. She loves being around her friends and teachers. A natural born educator, she strives to convince girls to finish their education. With schools now open, she can once again cultivate her knowledge rather than vegetables.
English is an official language in Uganda and one of Salome’s favourite subjects. There are 43 other languages spoken, grouped into four main language families. Of these languages, five are institutional, 27 are developing, seven are vigorous, two are in trouble and two are dying.
Young people like Salome make up a quarter of the population in Uganda. Life is harsh for many. Early marriage and low participation in secondary education make it difficult for girls to fulfil their potential.
teenage pregnancy rate
What worried Salome most was the number of girls dropping out of school and getting pregnant. In Uganda, the teenage pregnancy rate is high and girls are vulnerable. These rates are still on the rise, especially with ongoing lockdowns and continued school closures.