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Raysa lives in Uzlat Bani Zyad, Al-Hada district, one of the most conservative and deprived areas in Yemen. It is a tribal area where revenge, early marriage and socio-cultural attitudes towards girls are major issues. People commonly believe that it is not worth investing in girls’ education because they end up in someone else’s house and that educating girls bring disgrace to the tribe. Raysa tells her story.
“I used to study in a school where there was no female teacher and I was the only girl student. The boys in class used to pull my hair. I got married when I was in 7th Grade. My father in law did not allow me to use any kind of contraceptives. So, I gave birth to nine children. I was told to stop going to school to look after my kids and to take care of the housework.
With my husband’s support, I insisted on continuing to study. I had to take my children with me to the school and walk almost 8 km to school. Many girls in my community rejected my friendship because I was studying with boys. They thought I was doing something shameful. After finishing my education I worked as a volunteer teacher in Al-Jihad school. When I joined the school, only 10 girls studied there but after I started teaching, the number of girls went up to 72.
I have benefited from the female teacher contracting scheme under BEDP. This scheme has a great impact on my life, socially and economically. My role now is not only restricted to teaching but also advocating for girls’ education. I make the best use of every social gathering and speak about the importance of education and sending girls to schools.”