Aichatou Abdou, Niger
Niger, Tillaberi region. Aichatou Abdou, 17 years, has a one-year-old baby, Mahamadou Moussa. Two years ago, when she was 15 years old, she got married to a 47-year-old policeman. It was an arranged marriage, and she became pregnant after a year. In the beginning her husband was nice, but after a while he became violent. After some time, Aichatou told her husband that she wanted to go back to school. He gave her two options, and Aichatou decided to divorce him half a year ago. She doesn’t see him anymore. Aichatou’s father died when she was young, and now she lives with her son at her mother’s place. She and her mother rent a small piece of land on which they farm, and they have a goat and some chickens. Still, this doesn’t give them much security, because the landlord can claim the land when he needs it. Aichatou doesn’t get any money or support from her son’s father. She says, “I’m afraid I can’t finish school. I have to pay for a school uniform and the school fees. We just don’t have the money. Sometimes I regret that I got divorced.”
Aichatou is now part of a group of 33 girls who have received a GALS (Gender Action learning System) training in Torodi district. After the GALS training she decided to go back to school and her vision is to get her BEPC (high school levels) and become a police officer.