Author: Manyang David Mayar, April 26 2016 - In South Sudan, it’s not uncommon for older men to offer girls and young women gifts of transport, mobile phones and cash with the expectation of them starting a sexual relationship in return. This sometimes has disastrous consequences for their education.
Rose, aged 16, was a committed pupil before a relationship with an older man caused her to drop out of school. On her way to school one morning she arrived at the bus station and found there was no transport. She was stuck and didn’t know what to do when a man in his thirties cruised by in his car and offered her lift. Desperate not to be late for her morning lessons, she accepted the lift and jumped into the man’s car.
Rose, now 29, told her story to Florence Michael, a producer of Our School, a radio programme which discusses the importance of girls completing their education in South Sudan.
“On our way, he asked for my name, I introduced myself then he did the same,” Rose said. “Reaching school he asked me if we could meet again.”
Over the next few months, the man continued to give Rose lifts to school. He didn’t stop there. He gave her a whole variety of gifts, including money and a mobile phone. Not long after that, the man asked for something else.
He asked Rose to be his girlfriend. A few months later she was pregnant.