My name is Balikis. I live in a small community in Kebbi State.
In my community, there is only one secondary school. Most of the students in the school are boys.
When I started attending the school, it was not easy. Some girls from my community made fun of me. They said I was trying to be a man by going to school. They said school only teaches girls to talk too much and be pompous.
At school, some of the boys made fun of the girls for coming to school. They said we were wasting our time as we were going to end up as housewives.
Some women even asked my mum to stop me from going to school.
It was so difficult to make new friends. Some of my old friends started to avoid me.
Most mornings I was scared to walk to school.
It started to affect my academics. My class teacher noticed. She asked me what was wrong. I told her.
That was when she told me about Malala. She said some people tried to stop her from going to school. Rather than let them discourage her, she stood her ground. She told me how that brave act earned her worldwide recognition.
Her story sounded just like mine. It motivated me. I wasn’t going to let the pressure from my community stop me.
I started walking more confidently to school. I even formed a group with some of the girls in my school. Now we walk together to school and even study together sometimes.
Through the group, we also educate other girls in our community on the importance of going to school. We share some of the things we learn in school with the girls. We tell them about the things they can achieve if they go to school.
I have noticed that since we started talking to the girls, a few of them have stopped making fun of us.
I am happy that I was able to stand up for myself like Malala.
Sometimes, some people will try to drag us down when we try to do something new. We might feel sad or discouraged. Keep moving. Believe in yourself and your dreams.
Has someone ever made fun of you because of your aspirations or love for school? Share your experience with us in the comments section.