8 October 2015
Sathi, 15, lives in a remote village of Jamalpur district in Bangladesh and loves school and football. She now attends high school and is renowned for her determined attitude towards studying - but she missed five years of education when her parents could not afford to pay. Sathi was devastated, until an ActionAid partner stepped in and she was eventually able to resume her education. For International Day of the Girl we spoke to Sathi and her mum about the challenges she faces.
Sathi, what's your proudest achievement?
I am hard working and I never give up hope. I help my siblings with their studies and I also help my mother with household chores. I think that my life’s biggest triumph is getting the chance to study once more. A memorable achievement of my life is passing Grade 5. Some other memorable experiences of my life are playing football at primary school and going to school with my friends. I have dreams to be a renowned football player, to achieve the highest marks in class and to be a respectable person in society.
Tell us about attitudes towards girls in your community
In our area, society has a different view about girls. People think that girls do not need much education as they usually get married off and become part of another family. Whereas boys need education as they need to earn and bear the cost of their families.
Being a girl, and due to society’s view regarding girls, I cannot do a lot of things. For example, village fairs are held each year in our local area. Everyone goes to the fair but my parents do not allow me to go. I also love to play good football. I participated in the inter-school football competition; however, currently, due to restrictions imposed by my family and since there is no facility for letting girls play football in our area, I stopped playing.
What do you want to do when you finish school?
I want to be a teacher when I grow up. If my parents stop my education then my dreams will not turn into reality and I will not be able to achieve my goals. I think that in every family parents should treat their children equally.
What changes would you like to see in the world by 2030 for girls to achieve their potential?
By 2030, I want to see that there is no difference between girls and boys and that they are treated equally without any discrimination.
Sathi, what are attitudes towards girls like in your comunity?
The people of this area have a different view regarding girls; they think that girls do not need so much education, as girls go away and become part of another family when they get married off. They think that boys need education so that they can earn for their families. But I think this view needs to be changed. I think that girls and boys should be treated equally.
Do you worry about Sathi's safety when she goes out?
I am concerned about my daughter’s security, as the distance from my home to her school is four kilometres. When Sathi goes to school I really worry about her until she comes back home.
What kind of changes do you want to see in the world for Sathi in 2030?
By 2030 I want to see my daughter fulfilling her dreams and establishing herself in society as an independent person.
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We asked three more girls about their thoughts on gender equality and their hopes for the future. Listen to what they have to say: