by Jennifer Abu

I believe that a nation’s progress is heavily influenced by the level of education its people receive. Education is a catalyst to reaching one’s full potential. It helps people become more aware of their environment and often times ignites their desire to make a change.  For example, educating expectant mothers about the pregnancy process can significantly reduce infant and maternal mortality rates. Teaching young girls to protect themselves can significantly decrease the likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Having an education also increases a girl’s advancement in employment opportunities and most importantly builds her confidence. Unfortunately, there are still countless girls around the world who are unable to attend school or their education is cut short due to lack of resources or an unstable support system. For some, customary traditions impede them from getting an education simply because they are girls. An example of this still occurs in my native village in Nigeria where it is expected for young girls to discontinue their education in order to find a husband. This takes away their opportunity to create their own identity and obtain skills that will advance them in society.