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Speech Delivered At The Wetati Conference Via Video Link By The First Lady Of Sierra Leone H.E. Mrs Sia Nyama Koroma
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Apr 9, 2014, 17:00
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Speech Delivered At The Wetati Conference Via Video Link By The First Lady Of Sierra Leone H.E. Mrs Sia Nyama Koroma

 

Mrs. Margaret Dureke, Founder and President of WETATi, members of the entire WETATi community, distinguished guests; It is with a deep sense of humility that I rise to place on record my gratitude and appreciation to you for inviting me to be your keynote speaker on this very important occasion. In granting me your award, you have honoured the women and daughters of Sierra Leone.

 

I would like to endorse and repeat what perhaps has already been said and already known that our young women are the potential leaders of our respective societies and I support the statement that it is better to educate a girl than to fix a woman. I have said it before that it is better to fix our girls at the early stages of life than to engage in damage control. This is why more women need to be educated today than ever. We know that in every society, education connotes acquisition of something good and something worthwhile. It is the process through which individuals are made functional.

 

Mrs Sia Nyama Koroma

 

In discussing the topic of education in our contemporary world, one has to take into consideration the meaning of education. It is said and rightly so that education is not just schooling but rather the sum total of the formative influences that bear upon life. The education that we ought to emphasize is the one that includes the influence of the home, the institutions, and other human relationships. This type of education has as its goal the training of the heart to desire what is good, and the will to choose and desire what is right, as well as the mind to understand how to live as real people in a real world.

 

There is no better investment that we can make than in the education of our children especially our girls. They are the future ICT specialists, software engineers, scientists, film producers, teachers, doctors, nurses, politicians, and future Secretary Generals of the United Nations.

 

I strongly believe that education is the foundation for the prosperity of individuals and nations. Therefore, the challenge before us is to ensure that our efforts to provide quality education and care for our children are realized. When women and girls and better educated, families and nations thrive.

 

I continue to hold on to the belief that no nation can afford to neglect the education of her citizens because it is the vehicle that conveys quality development of a country. I absolutely agree with the social commentators that education is the key to the development of human capital, which is the basis of national economic development.

 

One of the strongest moral arguments advanced in modern times to educate our girls is the deadly issue of teenage pregnancy. The statistics on teenage pregnancy are quite alarming and it is imperative that if we are going to win the fight against teenage pregnancy, we must commit to educating the girl child. In Sierra Leone 34% of young women become pregnant before age 18 and 26% of girls aged 15-19 have already had a birth. What is needed at this point is increased investment in women and young people, especially girls, in their education, health and empowerment so that they will have voice and choice, and can help to transform our world. Having the ability to choose the number and spacing of their children because of education is the freedom from which other freedoms flow, and a woman who is free to be employed, because she has fewer children will reinvest 90 percent of her earnings in her family, compared with mens 30-40 percent. Education will help us build stronger families. The truth is that educated women have a greater chance to escape poverty that will enable them to live productive and healthier lives.

 

We must advice our girls that success in life needs planning, a determined mind, but above all a willingness through positive action to do what is good, and a reliance on God to direct their path. Let me state that any successful philosophy of life must be related to God. Any knowledge in which God is ruled out is incomplete and inadequate. It is said that when you educate people without religion, you make them clever rouges.

 

Any education that does not carry with it a religious dimension and life for that matter which does not have a religious undergirding is incomplete and inadequate.

We need to develop young women and men who have the courage to dare and the courage to act who will represent the best in our communities.

 

As individuals, may we realize that we are made for that which is high, noble, and good. As we go out into the world, let us remember the words of John Oxenham that to everyone there openeth a way and ways. The high soul climbs the high way, and the low soul gropes the low, and in between the misty flats, the rest drift to and fro. But to everyone there openeth a high way and ways, and everyone decideth the way his or her soul shall go.

 

May God grant that our women and children will choose the high way of life that will bring honour and praise to our families and communities.

 

Very best wishes for the important work ahead. God bless you.


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