My name is Fideline SAWADOGO. I’m very happy to write this letter for you to thank you for all things you have done and are doing for me and for all girls victims of forced marriage.
I’m very happy to live in Foyer Ste Bernadette because I live quietly after having escaped the forced marriage.
The third year of my primary school, I was promised to and old man and had to get married with him. So, at the end of my primary school, after succeeding to my exam, my parents said they have no money to let me continue the secondary school. Then, they decided to bring me at my “husband”. What a pity for me; I was crying and crying but crying could not help me. I decided to leave the family. I ran away and welcomed by Foyer Ste Bernadette. It was too later for me to go to secondary school, so I was obliged to return at primary school for one year in order not to loose my knowledge. Next year, I was registered to the College Ste Bernadette in 2007. In 2011, I have succeeded to my exam of BEPC ( Brevet d’Etudes du Premier Cycle) and now I’m in Seconde C, the first year of the secondary school. Mathematics, Sciences, Physical and Chemistry are the most important matters in second C. In two years, I’ll pass the Baccalaureat (Final Examen).
As I escaped the forced marriage, my parents decided to give my sister to this old man. She has to take my place. At this moment, in 2010, my sister was in CM2, the last year in primary school. She succeeded her exam and I decided to go to the village in order to help her to escape. One day, I called her to explain how to escape. She has to escape with four girls who have succeeded too to their exam. Unfortunately, their parents refused to send them to secondary school because they don’t have enough money and according to them, it’s not important for a girl to go to school. In fact, they want them to get married with designated men. It’s forced marriage. It’s the reason why it was necessary to escape. So, we prepared our escaping : we went together in the bush to look for wood for cooking and we never went back to the village. My sister and the four girls are now in Foyer Ste Bernadette were they pursue their studies. I’m very happy to save them.
Forced marriage always exists in our village. So, it’s necessary to fight against it and find solutions for the victims.
I’d like to become a barrister or a leader of opinion in order to fight against forced marriage.
Think you once for your inestimable support.
I’m very happy.
Classe de Seconde C
Collège Sainte Bernadette
Editor’s Note: The above is an unedited letter from a current resident at Ste Bernadette. Although her first language is a dialect and her second language (schooled) is French, she is undertaking English classes and has written this letter in English without assistance.