At 16, Juliana was terrified of being sold into marriage—a fate extremely common in Wulu Province’s Jurubele Village. Parents in Wulu often view their female children as sources of wealth whose arranged marriages can mean the difference between starving and surviving. Instead of looking to their daughters as potential breadwinners, parents view them primarily as brides.
Juliana and her parents both decided to enroll in IIRR-sponsored farming and literacy classes at Bulabandango Learning Center. In the classes, both Juliana and her parents were exposed to vegetable growing, investing strategies, numeracy, and literacy. Poly’s parents have realized the importance of educating their children. They have even assured Poly that they will continue to support her education and will let her decided when she is ready to get married.. Poly is now confident that she will be able to join mainstream primary schools within the next year. Poly is particularly happy that her studies do not preclude her from helping her parents to tend their flock and maintain their plots. The classes, which run for two hours during afternoons on Monday through Friday, allow her the freedom to continue honoring her community’s traditional livelihoods.