Teenage mother seeks help to resume studies
“I will not stop studying, though I am not able today because I don’t have money to pay the school fees,” those were the sorrowful words of Susan Idwa, a teenage mother who dropped out of school in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Idwa, 17, a mother of a four-month-old baby boy, said she would do any job that earns her money to enable her to realise her academic dream.
In a desperate attempt to defy the odds, Idwa now struggles to rejoin her studies in the next academic year by working at a local hotel in the Eastern Equatoria State capital, Torit.
She saves part of the money she earns from her work as a cleaner for school fees and uses some to cater for herself and the baby, whose father’s whereabouts remain unknown.
“I will do any kind of work that gives me money so that next year I can go back to school because there is no one supporting me with my child,” she said.
“I am praying to God that everything goes well with me and my child so that both of us do not fall sick because I can keep some of the money I receive when schools open next year in 2022. I will be able to register my name in school,” she added.
She dropped out when she was in primary seven after conceiving her baby at the age of 16 in mid-2019. This was two months after the closure of schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
This year, she got the job she does now after consulting her parents, who are too old to support her and get her back to school.
“My parents are old and they cannot afford to care for me and my child. The father [of the kid] told me that he was going to Juba for work. Up to now, he has not returned, and we are not communicating because I have no phone. When the child is sick, I bear all the responsibilities, ” she lamented.
“Because I want to go back to school, I decided to do this work so that I get school fee and when I told my parents that I got a job in the hotel, they accepted because they have no money to register me back to school,” Idwa decried.
Learnt the hard way
The young mother urged South Sudanese young girls to be assertive, abstain, and concentrate on their studies to avoid falling into the trap she fell into now.
“I would like to advise all the young girls in South Sudan who are still in schools now that they should not allow themselves to be deceived or make a mistake like what has happened to me.
“Let them see how I suffer now. If I don’t work, no one is supporting me with this child. Next year (2022), I have to be in school. If my money is gone and there is someone supporting me, I will go back again to do some work like I am doing now and keep some for school till I complete my studies,” she said.
She appeals to the government and well-wishers to sponsor her in school, promising that she has learnt a lot as a young mother.
“I want to tell the government and anyone who can help me to complete my studies is that if they are willing let them help. Let them not think that I will repeat the same mistake. “
“I have promised myself that I must complete my school even though I face challenges. God will help because there is nothing through God,” Idwa appealed.