- carried jerry cans of water to and from the borehole before and after lessons
- walked several kilometres, often barefoot, to get to school
- survived beatings from the teacher for being late
- studied in classes of 100 or more pupils
- managed to go all day without food
- done their homework by candlelight or paraffin lamp, often lying on the floor of the hut.
'We cannot get many cows and goats from educated girls,' said one mother in West Nile, 'so we give them when they are still young...'
Last week, the Ugandan newspapers carried various stories about PLE candidates, many of them concerning girls. For example, in Ngora District, 34 girls did not sit the exams because they were either pregnant or married off by their parents. In Kasese, 40 girls sat PLE while pregnant and 20 missed it for the same reason. Multiply these figures across the 120 districts which make up Uganda and you can see the scale of the problem. Some determined girls actually took the exam while in labour. Babies were born before, after and even during the exams. One 14-year-old spent three days in labour, two of these in the exam room. She eventually delivered by caesarian section.