Popular musician and Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo has told girls at Mankneh near Makeni that they must do everything to stay in school.
She said this while addressing a group of girls most of whom had dropped out of school because of financial reasons, early pregnancy or marriage.
“Girls like you I see them everywhere in Africa” she said stating that she has been talking to the parents and “what they are doing accepting younger kids into marriage is a crime.”
Mme Kidjo said “you are under age you are not ready to carry a baby you have to stay in school because all the work I am doing all the work Unicef is doing all the work everybody is doing around the world … because they know that the future of Africa is in your hands.”
She told the girls that this was “because if you are educated you educate the nation, if you are educated you educate your men, you educate your brothers, and then we change this cycle of poverty and we change the cycle of early marriage.”
Angelique warned the girls “Don’t give in to early marriage it is the wrong thing to do because the men will take the freshness out of you they will suck your blood dry and they will go to somebody once you are not useful to them they will drop you like cracked nuts and go somewhere else.”
“Stay in school” she emphasized over and over again “because it is really really really important for you to stay in school.”
In an emotional tone she said she has been told about the needs in the community, but she admonished the girls saying “I can only help to bring a secondary school here or to bring a hospital here if you go to school to become the next teacher or the next nurse or doctor that this community needs otherwise it is a waste of money it is a waste of time and it is a waste of life.”
Earlier at the Mankneh village she was shown a garden managed by a Mother’s club and the proceeds were used to send their children to school. The Public Relations Officer Amie Mansaray said they wanted a hospital so that their kids could be healed before they die as the hospital in Makeni is far away and the kids often die on the way to the hospital. She also advocated for uniforms, books and money to pay school fees for their children.
The group was then led to the Mankneh school where Angelique addressed the young girls. By Kelvin Lewis