My Name is Dorcus Econi. I am 16 years old and currently attending S.2 class at Aria secondary school in Arua district. I am a treasurer of the Girls education club at my school. I have six (6) sisters and I am the 7th born and the youngest. I started facing many challenges when my father separated from my mother claiming that she gives birth to only girls. My parents separated when in 2011 when I was only 9 years old in P3. Later my father followed us to our grandmother’s place where my mother had run for rescue and among the 7 girls he picked me up claiming that he wants to support me to continue with education little did I know that he had his other intentions.
My father picked me from my mother and took me to his place in staff quarters at Golden treasure school where he was working as a security guard/ watch man. I was enrolled in school in p.3, however, in 2014 when my father changed faith to become a Muslim, he forced me to change to Muslim religion if I wanted to continue with my education and attempted to defile me as well. He threatened if I tried to report or tell anyone about his sexual attempts. He attempted to rape me but I managed to run away from his house to the director’s home which was also located within the school. He followed me to the director’s home with determination to defile me but I managed to escape and spent a night in Arua hospital and the following morning I went to Arua police to report. My father was then arrested with help of the school director and police officer. He lost his job and since then, he has rejected me and swore never to take care of me.
The director took care of me until I successfully completed my P.7 in 2015 with 10 aggregates. Currently, the director is supporting paying half of my school fees and the rest is paid by the school since I am among the best performing students in my class. I am in boarding section, and always spend my holidays at my guardian’s relatives’ home in Nyio village located in Beliafe Sub County were I continuously face many challenges given that there is no any of my close relative attending to my issues.
Challenges I face at school and home.
Given that I don’t stay with any of my close relatives at home, I always lack support in terms of accessing the basic needs as may be required by any girl child most especially during holidays. While at home I am mistreated by my guardians (brothers to the director), they always call me all sorts of names like abandoned child since they are aware that my father neglected me. At school, I always lack scholastic materials and no one is taking responsible of that since the director who supports to pay half of my school fees has many beneficiaries he pays school fees for.
How the girls education club has supported her to stay in school.
‘The Girls Education Club has given me hope to focus on my education and encouraged me to stay in school amidst very many challenges. Furthermore, being a leader and a treasurer in GEC has built my confidence to speak out about my challenges, testimony and I am also able to give hope to many girls through various club engagements. In addition, GEC has also provided me a platform to engage with very many people like staff from trailblazers and UNICEF as well as reaching to many girls and boys in Aria SS and other schools through GEC exchange visits.
My message to the girls
“Challenges should not let any girl everywhere in the world give up with their education. As I am aware, many girls tend to give up when they lose parental care and many end up dropping out of school, start leaving reckless life but it is always not the end of the world. This is a call all girls who have lost hope to stand strong amidst challenges, accept the challenges and face them with boldness so that they attain their dreams. Be tolerant in any situation, be patient and make a rightful decision to stay and complete school. When I successfully complete my education, I want to become a Nurse” Dorcus shares.