Pushing the dream

Pushing the dream

LERIBE – WHILE most of her peers are rushing to get married, Itumeleng Sematle remains committed to her schoolwork and her dream – to become a nurse. Sematle is a Form E student at Boribeng High School about 120km north of Maseru.
Her fierce determination and hard work have not gone unnoticed.

Last week, Sematle was among scores of students who were awarded prizes for academic excellence at her school, thanks to a local insurance company, Thaba-Bosiu Risk Solutions. She was awarded trophies and a white blazer in recognition of her hard work.
Sematle says she finds it odd that many of her “age mates are so keen to get married when there is so much to life than marriage”.
“All girls who believe there is life in marriage don’t really know what life holds for them, they don’t know the strength they hold within to become what they want,” Sematle says.

“I have seen many of my age mates suffer in marriage, I have heard them talk about how bad a decision it was to enter into marriage at that early age but are afraid to come to school because of fear of being rejected or giving their family a bad name,” she says.
“I don’t want to go through that.”

The awards are the brainchild Thaba-Bosiu Risk Solutions Managing Director, ’Matumelo Seturumane.
She says the purpose of the awards is to encourage academic excellence in her home village and improve the community’s standard of living.
Seturumane, who grew up in Boribeng, says she seeks to discourage young girls from getting involved in early marriages but instead prioritise education.

Seturumane could not hold back her tears as she addressed the students.
“Everyone has a choice and for every choice there is a consequence. When a girl keeps quiet about being forced into marriage, it is a choice. If a parent keeps quiet when her child elopes or is abducted for marriage, that is a choice,” Seturumane says.
Seturumane says it is unfortunate that God trusted parents to guide and protect their children, “yet we don’t protect these gifts that were graciously given to us”.

“Parents who allow their kids to go through such an ordeal need to be locked up.”
“Our aim is to promote hard work, good behaviour and motivate students to become better and have a bright future. We do not want the white blazer to be a scorn and promoter of what we are trying to eradicate.”

Seturumane says as she grew up in Boribeng she understands fully the challenges of this village.
“Abduction and child marriage did not start now, it has been so imbedded in us it is going to take time to totally eradicate such practices,” she says.
Seturumane says she is saddened because the girl who won the award last year hassince eloped. She was a member of a group called “She Heroes”.

“She was the best member of the group that was intended to build, motivate and groom girls into successful women, what a disappointment!”
“You are free to choose but you are not free from consequences,” she says.

Rethabile Mahopolo, from Beautiful Dream Society who was the guest speaker, says child marriage should be treated just like human trafficking.
“Children, you have no business getting married, you absolutely have no business (dabbling in) sex,” Mahopolo says.
“Your business is to study, pass and pave your way into a bright future,” she says.
“We are available to save every girl from these nightmares.” l See related story on Page 12, 13

Rose Moremoholo

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