From VOA LEARNING ENGLISH, welcome to AS IT IS!
Hello, I’m Steve Ember.
Today on our program, the increasing number of Nigerian child brides and its effect on women’s education...efforts by the United Nations to end racial discrimination in sports…and a drop in the number of women touring India since the rape and murder of a young girl in the country.
In parts of Nigeria, activists say it is increasingly common for girls to leave school to get married. Some girls are as young as 12 or 13. Nigerian girls of that age are also leaving school to work selling goods in marketplaces. The girls say they could become professionals if they could stay in school. Instead, most of them are just surviving. VOA’s Heather Murdock looked into the situation from Abuja. Kelly Jean Kelly has her report.
Yalwa is a 13-year-old pregnant girl living in poverty in Abuja. Her husband is in his thirties. He sells goods from a wheelbarrow in the market place. Their home has no water system and electric power is undependable.
(Yalwa in Hausa) But Yalwa is not talking about those problems. She says what she wants is to go to school.
Before she was married she dreamed of being a doctor or a midwife. At her parent’s house, she and her brothers and sisters sometimes ate only once a day. She thought if she got married her husband would help her go to school. But that is not what happened.
Activists in northern Nigeria say stories like Yalwa’s are increasingly common.
Saratu Musa Makawa heads the National Association of Nigeria Female Students. She says when little girls get married, it is not just educational possibilities that they lose.
“Apart from the psychological and sociological effects it also has a medical side effect.”
The United Nations reports that more than 140 million girls worldwide are expected to become child brides by 2020. The UN says these girls are far more likely to die in childbirth or to give birth to a dead baby than are adult mothers.
But Ms. Makawa says it is not just marriage that robs Nigerian girls of At the Kaduna Central Market in northern Nigeria men shout as they make deals and sell their goods. Among the sellers are many girls. Some of the girls are as young as six.
Ms. Makawa says the girls are in constant danger of rape and other sexual threats, increasing the risk of unwanted pregnancies, abortions and uncared for babies.
Aisha Yusuf is with the aid organization Support Health and Education for Development.
She says the solution begins with persuading parents to pay more attention to their daughters’ educations. But activists say daily earnings for all Nigerians must improve before many children will be able to live their dreams.
I’m Kelly Jean Kelly.
You are listening to AS IT IS. I’m Steve Ember.
The United Nations is demanding an end to what it calls the crime of racism in sports. The U.N. is joining football officials and players in an effort to end racial discrimination in the game. The move follows the defiant action of Kevin-Prince Boateng, who plays for AC Milan. He walked off the pitch during an exhibition football match to protest racial insults.
The sports announcer was expressing disbelief at Kevin-Prince Boateng walking off the football pitch. Other players on the team joined him. They were protesting the racist insults he suffered during action against Italian lower division club Pro-Patria.
The star player says he is not sorry for ending the game after 25 minutes of play. He kicked the ball off the field and left after hearing insults and offensive names coming from the crowd.
“The report that the entire AC Milan team had presented a resolute and united front against racist abuse made headline news all over the world. This is the reason why I am here today.”
Kevin-Prince Boateng is one of several football players and officials invited by the United Nations to take part in a discussion about ending racial discrimination.
Boateng was born in Berlin of a father from Ghana and a German mother. He plays for the Ghanaian national team. He says he does not regret walking out of a game because if left alone, he believes prejudice does not go away. He says it must be dealt with or it will spread.
“I just think we have to stand up against it every time.”
Patrick Vieira is a former captain of the French national football team. He says racism has no place on the pitch. He also says the walk-off was a huge step forward.
“I think him walking outside of the field improved the situation.”
Yet UN official Navi Pillay says the world continues to see deeply unpleasant actions during sporting events --including football matches.
“They have included insults, offensive chants, Nazi salutes, petitions against hiring certain players.”
She calls racism a violation of human rights. And she says it is a crime, one that sports officials must treat as a crime.
You are listening to AS IT IS. I’m Steve Ember.
Indian officials say more than six million international tourists visited India last year. The country earned almost $18 billion dollars from those visitors. But a new report says the number of tourists is down 25 percent. As we hear from Karen Leggett, the number of foreign women visiting India has dropped by more than a third in the past three months.
The report comes from the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India. The group questioned 1,200 tour operators from across the country. They blamed safety concerns and weakness in the world economy for the drop in the number of tourists.
More than 70 percent of the tour operators reported trip cancellations in the past three months, especially by women coming from the United States, Canada and Australia.
American Susan Gass is staying in India to visit tourist sites after a two-week study program. She says she does not think there is anything to fear.
“I will be careful. My partner did give me a whistle before I came because he had some concerns. I have tried actually not to follow too much of the media because I’m going to be traveling on my own. I don’t want to be scared the whole time I am traveling.”
Sexual attacks in India have received more attention since a group of men raped and killed a young Indian woman in New Delhi last December. In March, a Swiss traveler was raped while traveling by bicycle with her husband in Madyha Pradesh state. In a separate incident, a British woman jumped out of a hotel window in Agra after a man reportedly forced his way into her room.
Indian officials say it is not fair to say the country is unsafe because of only a few incidents.
Indian officials say they have increased security in New Delhi and other tourist sites. And, travel professionals are urging the government to launch a 24-hour emergency telephone service to advise foreign travelers. I’m Karen Leggett.
And that’s our program for today. I’m Steve Ember. Thanks for joining us.