Abibatu lives in the Monkey Bush community of Waterloo. Education is not free in Sierra Leone; families must pay for tuition, uniforms, school supplies, and other school fees. With parents struggling to provide for their families, this expense is many times not possible.
Typically, those who can afford to send their children to school will choose to send only their sons. Girls will be left at home to tend to daily chores and their younger siblings while parents work.
This lack of education and supervision leads girls just entering into adolescence very vulnerable to teenage pregnancy. For girls who have not been given access to education, they are often left with no option but to marry as early as 16 years of age, so they can be financially supported by their husband.
Abibatu lives with both of her parents who are woodcutters. Each day, they walk into the bush to cut firewood and sell it in their community. This business allows them to provide food for their family, but often they do not have enough income to keep Abibatu in school consistently. After paying some money to enroll her in the first term, she was eventually asked out of school until her parents can pay towards the balance.
Abibatu loves being in school, but when asked to leave by the administrators for lack of payment, she feels ashamed and sad to not be with her schoolmates each day. Abibatu has completed Class 2, but has not been able to learn consistently due to sitting out of school for extended periods.