Veronica 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.
Veronica lives with her mother and father. Her father is a full-time student, so her mother has taken the responsibility of supporting the family financially. With his college fees and their family needs, Veronica’s mother is not able to consistently pay Veronica’s school tuition, uniform, school supplies and other school fees.
Veronica enjoys school and being with her classmates, so when she is asked out of school until her parents can pay the balance, she is very sad. Veronica is currently in Class 1. She would like to be a nurse when she grows up.