My name is Dausiya Rufa’i. I come from a poor Northern family in Kudan Local government, Zaria. My dad is a farmer and my mum a full time house wife. This has been the status of my Family since I was born.

In my local government, female education has a very low percentage; they believe that after primary school level, the girl should be in her husband’s house. lack of education and early child marriage are some of the common things in my Local government and the northern part of Nigeria generally.

I am one of the few people whose parents struggled to send to school out of the little money they have. Soon as I completed my Primary 5 level at LEA primary school Hunkuyi, my parents and other relatives started asking me to present a husband (as a normal practice back there), this also had to do with the fact that we had no/very little money and they could not afford to pay for another school so getting married was to save the costs.

I was okay with the idea of getting married because it is a normal thing for girls to get married at a very young age, and I could not tell the importance of further education because I did not grow to see any girl in the neighborhood further their studies. Personally, the reason why i went to primary school was because I was enrolled and my parent told me to do so, school was more like a meeting place for me and my class mates to play.

In 2004, I earned a primary school certificate. What next? Marriage as my parentS had planned. They had someone in mind for me in case I told them I had no one to marry. But luck smiled at me. One good blessed day, a friend of my dad came to the house, he and my dad had not seen for a long time because he travelled, so they had a lot to talk about. As their discussion went on, the friend told him about a scholarship program introduced to our Local government by a registered and legit non-governmental organization called Girl Child Concerns (GCC). My dad was not comfortable with the idea of taking me (as a girl) away from home and living me in the hands of people whom we know nothing about, in addition to that, he thought to himself, who will help my mum with all the house chores when I’m gone and how sure are they that this people are to be trusted?

It was a struggle getting my dad to consider this option for me, but his friend been an educated man had solid information about this organization. He had heard a lot about them and how they have helped in the improvement of communities by encouraging and supporting child education in different communities for years.

After some time, we met the program officer and the other officials where we wrote an exam and we were interviewed.

I passed the test and was enrolled into Queen Amina collage, where I started from JSS1 -SS3. School life was as sweet as lollipop even though initially I was catapulted in to the world of loneliness being taken away from home but with the encouragement of GCC Staff it is now history..

Apart from class education, I and other GCC beneficiaries had other advantageous privileges such as the annual retreat program which was designed to bring all GCC beneficiaries together and to remind us of our options in life. During this retreat, they would enlighten us more on the importance of education, dangers of early marriage, expected life challenges and more.

It is a golden opportunity to be a GCC beneficiary because if not for this organization, I am certain I would have been married with kids by now, probably in the same gloomy situation. This program has not only helped me but my family as a whole and many other young girls especially those from poor families whose parent cannot afford to send them to school.

I successfully graduated from Queen Amina College in 2011 and currently, I am an ND-2 computer science student at Federal polytechnic, Bauchi. Today, I am able to stand in front of crowds due to the self-esteem/confidence I have also gained during this period. I am very thankful to Girl child concerns for the life time priviledge they have offered me and as a way of showing my appreciation, I will like to partake In GCC programs designed to assist young girls, so that I can share my experience with them and remind them what a great opportunity they have at hand.

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