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PROEXPOSURE International day of the girl: the mountain


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PROEXPOSURE International day of the girl: the mountain

  1. PROEXPOSURE: there is a mountain onthe edge of BieraTo mark the International day of the girl and the uniquechallenges facing girls in Ethiopia.By Mark ChamberlainPhotographs by PROEXPOSURE
  2. The mountain looms over this village in northern Ethiopia. 51-year-oldBirihanu and her husband struggle to look at it. „I watched her as shewalked further and further away‟ says Birihanu. She stopped and sat on thatmountain to look back. She waved at us. Then her arm dropped, she turnedand started her journey again. I thought, “She is gone from us forever”.‟
  3. Birihanu‟s 19-year-old daughter, Alem left the village over a month ago.TextAlem a young, happy woman, but behind her warm smile, there was aperson who refused to accept the status quo. She was strong, proud andambitious. Why shouldn‟t she get an education? Why shouldn‟t she have achance to make a happy life for herself? Caption Text Photos by Text
  4. In Ethiopia, the onus is normally on the women and girls in the family toTextcollect water and get food. Seven out of every ten girls don‟t attendsecondary school, which means they don‟t have the skills and knowledge tosupport themselves. Caption Text Photos by Text
  5. Alem wanted somethingmore than this.The role that women‟seducation plays in asociety‟s development wasrecognised in the UN‟sInternational Bureau ofEducation‟s report onEthiopianeducation, published in2004:Girls‟ education is one ofthe fundamental pillars forensuring sustainableeconomicdevelopment, democraticparticipation and povertyreduction.
  6. Alem got good scores in her exams, but they weren‟t quite good enough – she got 1.9 in her exams, the required grade was 2.0. She was distraught, the chance to go to college to learn a skill, to make a better life for her family had been taken from her.Text Caption Text Photos by Text
  7. „Alem looked for a jobeverywhere – even with herexam marks, she couldn‟t get ajob as a cleaner.„But there is nothing for her here.She has an education, she hasambition. But there is nothing.‟ Caption Text Photos by Text
  8. That day on the mountain Alem was setting out to travel to Saudi Arabia.Migrant workers there often perform domestic or very low-skilled labourjobs. Get found out as an illegal worker in Saudi Arabia and you faceimmediate arrest and deportation. Text Caption Text Photos by Text
  9. Migrants face abuse. Women in particular being prey to physical and sexualabuse. There is also the psychological impact: like Alem, many leave theirhomes in remote areas to go from a life with no electricity and a slowerpace to a bustling metropolis full of noise and having to adapt to acompletely new lifestyle. Text Caption Text Photos by Text
  10. But the lure of migrating to find work and money to send home is too great. TextIt‟s a quick way of changing your own and your family‟s life. Caption Text Photos by Text
  11. „She called us after a month‟ says Birihanu. „She is alive and she is okay. She is strong. She has a plan to change her life and our lives. She wanted to work and make good money in Saudi Arabia and then come back here.‟Text Caption Text Photos by Text
  12. „If Text tell her one thing‟ Birihanu‟s voice is quiet now, „I would I couldsay, “Alem, we love you, take good care of yourself. Please stay safe – wewant you to come back for Ethiopian New Year.‟ Caption Text Photos by Text
  13. To find out more about PROEXPOSUREcontact our friendly teamon +44 (0)20 7275 8472,on twitter @PROExposureor email Louise Norton proexposure@gmail.comPhotographs by PROEXPOSURE photographers Ataklti Mulu and Alem Assefa with Annie Bungeroth, Sarah Davison and BroadArrow