MUSLIMAH MENTORSHIP NETWORK (MMN) visited AL-BASAR Senior Secondary School in Awoshie on the 23rd November 2019 on the invitation of Al-Amin Akwei a teacher of the school. The mentors arrived on time and were received by the former headmaster of the school. He welcomed the team to the school and gave the team a brief history about the school. According to him, the school was established to help the poorest of the poor in their community, and they have been doing their best to keep the school afloat since its establishment in spite of the challenges they face on a daily base. He also expressed some alarming concerns he would like the team to discuss with the girls. Some of the concerns he raised was the alarming number of students dating in the school, Timeliness, lack of focus on their studies and discipline.
At 9:30am the team requested to start the session, we were ushered into the mosque which was transformed into the meeting venue and 15 girls were already seated. Our speaker sister FERUZAH welcomed the 15 girls in attendance to the august occasion, she introduced herself and the mentors present, and she introduced them to the first topic at hand which was “ HIJAB AN IDENTITY“. She reminded them about their rights given to them by the Ghanaian constitution and urged them to stand up for their rights.
The session was interrupted to allow the girls have breakfast, 15 minutes was given to the girls but about 40 minutes went by with only few girls present, the session was continued and after a while we had a full house of 25 girls. The next topic of discussion was Role Models and the need for one in our life. Sister FERUZAH engaged in a lively discussion with the girls on the need for role models, she told them that her role model was her mother because she is a constant pillar in her life, her mother is a rock she could always count on. Sister MARIAM also spoke to the girls on the need for role models, she told the girls who her role model is and that she appreciated his vision and diligence with how he carried his affairs and each and every one of them can have multiple role models all based on a particular aspect of their lives they wanted to improve. The other mentors present took turns talking about their respective mentors.
The next topic of discussion was dating. This was a very interactive topic. The girls were asked to questions regarding their dating life, they were very vocal about it and about their partners. some of the girls were 18 years and generally expressed that they told their partners to wait until they were in level 200 in the universities, others expressed that they were ready to get married after senior high school. The youngest girl was 13 years old and she expressed she has a boyfriend but did not know anything about his career path, she did however know that he wants to get married after he graduates from UDS. They also expressed that they have had grown men interested in them. Some have gone to their houses to ask for their hand in marriage. When they were asked how they felt about that, the girls said it was a sign of love from these men. According to Ms Antoinette Most of them have their partners in the same senior high school, so they mostly spent their prep time with the boys in the uncompleted building in the school.
FERUZAH reminded the girls that in as much as they cannot be compelled to stop dating, the message we were sharing was intended to appeal to their consciousness so that they can make the right decisions for themselves. Mariam reminded the girls that they were beautiful and loved and they should not let anyone tell them otherwise. They were encouraged by the other mentors present to focus on their studies and leave no room for distractions. The female teaches took turns to give a heartfelt request to the girls Ms Antoinette expressed her disappointment in some of the actions and the girls have been exhibiting in school, she begged them to stay on the path of studies and forget about the boys around them as they bring them no good.
The girls were then asked about their career aspirations, and majority of them wanted to be nurses, others wanted to be journalist, clinical psychologist, air hostesses, pilots, teachers and nutritionist. They were asked why they chose those professions; they really didn’t have a clear reason why. Mardiya said she wanted to be an Air hostess because she likes the way they dressed. Our speaker advised them on the need to research their fields of interest, they will not only learn more about their respective careers but they will know with certainty if that was what they really wanted to do. They were advised to learn hard with discipline in all aspect of their lives and the need for punctuality and being time conscious. The final topic of discussion was bleaching; they were advised on the dangers of bleaching, and the need for self love.
The session was concluded with a closing prayer from one of the girls, pictures where taken and final good byes were said.
Remarks and Recommendations
The girls lack drive and vision, they clearly have no role models to look up to, their self esteem is really low and they are in need of constant mentoring, monitoring and supervision. We have to draft a structure to help these girls because they need a lot guidance.
1. We need to commit ourselves to constantly guide these girls at this crucial stage of their lives. At least once every month.