Target: Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of Sierra Leone
Goal: Eliminate government policies that keep pregnant girls from attending school and taking exams.
Pregnant girls are prevented from fully participating in school in the African country of Sierra Leone. This policy is discriminatory toward girls and is detrimental to both their personal success and the success of the country in general. Sign the petition and urge Sierra Leone to do away with this archaic, counterproductive, and shameful policy.
The recent announcement of the government policy made many girls afraid to return to school, fearing that they would face stigmatization, humiliation, or harassment. Some pregnant girls returned to school but bound their breasts and stomachs in an attempt to hide their pregnancies, which risks the health of both mother and child. The girls have reason to be afraid, however; the policy gives school officials the right to perform humiliating and degrading pregnancy checks.
Girls have the right to pursue their educations free of discrimination and unnecessary restrictions. Blocking access to education not only robs students of personal advancement but also deprives Sierra Leone of some of its brightest potential leaders. Sign the petition and demand that the government protect the health and integrity of pregnant girls by removing all policies that hinder their access to education.
Dear Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma,
I am writing to you to urge you to remove the government policy that prevents pregnant girls and young women in Sierra Leone from accessing an education. The policy is harmful to both the individuals it affects as well as Sierra Leone as a whole. It must be discontinued immediately.
Following Dr. Bah’s announcement that Sierra Leone’s policy was to keep pregnant girls out of school, many students were afraid to return to their classrooms, fearing stigmatization, humiliation, and harassment. Their fears were not necessarily unfounded; under the current system, teachers and school officials feel empowered to perform degrading pregnancy checks. Many of the girls who did return to school bound their breasts and stomachs to hide their pregnancies, an undertaking that is harmful to both the girls and their unborn children.
Girls have a right to education. The anti-pregnancy policy is harmful to them mentally and socially. It is also harmful to Sierra Leone; barring students’ access to education can potentially deprive Sierra Leone of some of its brightest scholars and future professionals.
I urge you to encourage all children to seek education, no matter what their personal or private medical situation may be. I demand that Sierra Leone revise its policies on schooling for pregnant girls.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: jarmoluk