STORYTELLING: Deborah and the Women’s Empowerment

Deborah, 27 years old from Mapourdit, South Sudan is a 3rd year student at the Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI) in Wau South Sudan. She has 3 children who are 8, 5 and 1 year old.

“Back when I was in secondary school, I became pregnant and had to be away from school for a long period of time. It was difficult to go back. So many other girls back home were in the same situation as I was. In a class of 23 students, there were only 4 girls because the girls got pregnant and had to drop out. Their husbands who never allowed them to return to school detained them at home. Women are expected to produce and raise children, cook, clean and take care of their husbands. Men are also afraid that if the women get educated, they will be more powerful than them!”

“When my latest baby was only 8 months old, I had to leave my baby with my brother’s family so that I could come to CHTI. This was very difficult for me. I was always worried about him. My husband was also against the idea of me being away for so long. When I returned home after a year, I found that my baby was already trying to walk but he did not recognise me as his mother. He rejected me completely! The good thing is that he is doing well and so when I came back to CHTI, I could concentrate on my studies better. I know that it is a struggle for now but I am soon graduating and I will be able to serve my community and my family can live better because both my husband and I can support the family.”

“The lives of two people are in the hands of a midwife – a mother and a child in the womb during pregnancy, delivery and after childbirth. There are so many problems affecting women in the villages and many lives are being lost because there is nobody to take care of them and to make matters worse, many are not educated. Infections and bleeding are killing mothers yet we can avoid all this by educating women and giving them a chance to take part in providing better health services.”

THIS STORY IS SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE women’s contribution to developing South Sudan is being undermined by the fact that South Sudan ranks lowest in the world with a female literacy rate of 16%. The percentage intake of female student at CHTI is increasing and therefore many women qualified to be nurses and midwives are returning to provide much needed better healthcare for their communities.

Date Published:

Nov 10, 2021



About the Author:

Descriptor: Rome Office
Gender: Female
Age category: 60+
Country: South Sudan

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