|© UNICEF video|
|Guinean girls listen to their teacher at the Nafa centre in Dubreka. Girls are given a basic education, as well as the skills to start their own businesses.|
By Michèle Akan Badarou
CONAKRY, Guinea, 19 October 2007 – Although they may have different backgrounds, students who attend the UNICEF-supported Nafa non-formal education centre in Conakry share a common bond – they are all getting a second chance to attend school.
Nafa centres provide an opportunity for students who were unable to receive a formal education during their childhood, be it for reasons that are economic or socio-cultural. One in four Guinean children does not enjoy the right to education.
Until recently, many parents in Guinea considered school to be only for boys; girls were kept at home to care for younger family members and help with domestic work. Nafa centres now help to promote education for all.
|© UNICEF video|
|Guinean girls who lack a formal education are taught the basics at Nafa centres.|
Attitudes slowly changing
Due in part to public awareness campaigns on children rights, gender parity and the benefits of education to the whole community, girls are finally beginning to get the educational opportunities they deserve.
“It only takes three years here – as opposed to six in the traditional system – to study instrumental principles like reading, writing and math,” said the head teacher at the Nafa school, Salimatou Bah. “At the end of the primary school here, the children can sit for a secondary school exam.”
UNICEF is currently supporting Nafa centres by providing equipment and other assistance. In addition, UNICEF works in a consulting capacity with the Ministry of Education, developing guidelines for Nafa centres so that they will continue to provide girls with the knowledge and skills to make the best of their lives. The centres are encouraging girls to look towards the future.
“If I am asked where I want to go, I will say up to a PhD or the teaching profession – in a word, finish all my studies,” said student Aminata Bountourabi Soumah.