Ummi lives in central Nigeria. She has never been to school because her parents don’t have the money to buy books, uniform or shoes. To help her family survive, Ummi sells snacks at the local market.
“My name is Ummi. I am 12 years old. I live with my family in Kabiji, Nigeria. My father is a trader.
“When I wake up in the morning I have lots of jobs to do. I bathe the younger ones, wash the dishes, sweep the compound and fetch the water.
“On market days, I go hawking. Usually I sell spaghetti in the market.
“My friends are called Kadijah, Madina and Hussaina. They go to Kabiji Primary School. When I see them going, I wish I could go too.
“I only play with my friends at night because in the day I go hawking. We like playing games like ‘danmalio’. I also like reading.
“In the future I hope I will be able to go to school.”
Ummi’s mother says: “I don’t know what the future holds for her. I know that her attending school would provide opportunities because education is needed in every occupation. I feel bad that she does not go to school but we don’t have the finances to send her.”
- Ummi is one of over 10 million children in Nigeria who are missing out on school.
One in three children in Nigeria does not go to school.
- The Niger Delta region is located in the southern part of Nigeria. It is is the most profitable oil region in West Africa. However, the vast wealth generated by its immense oil supplies has hardly touched the local people.
The Transforming Girls Education project is run by Maarifa ni Ufunguo and supported by ActionAid, Comic Relief and the Tubney Charitable Trust.
Photos: Chris Morgan/ActionAid