Ummi’s story

Girl, looking directly at the viewer

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.

Girl washing younger child with water from a bucket

Ummi helps to look after her brothers and sisters

“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.”

Woman and girl

Ummi at home with her mother

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.”

Further information

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

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