It clearly evident that school girls, within the ages of ten and thirteen years old have abandoned their schools to trade in sticks and wood selling, and many social commentators hold the view that, this type of trade did not only impact negative on the health of women and girls, but also it affects their environment, as the trade itself has to do with deforestation.
To capture the views of girls and women engaged in this trade, AYV visited Robureh Road, Back Off the popular Wusum Hotel in Makeni which is their usual rendezvous to familiarize with their present status and challenges ahead of them.
A thirteen year old girl, Cecilia explained that she was a school drop-out and after her National Primary School Examinations, her mother who is a widow could no longer afford to foot her educational bills , due to lack of money .
She went further to state that doing such a painstaking trade was never her dream, but that to become a medical practitioner, and since her mother and relatives could no longer afford to pay her school charges , she had no option, but to engaged in stick and wood trading.
Her contemporaries like Adama, Fatu to name a few also explained similar experiences to African Young Voices.
For the adults, most of them stated that life was very difficult for them in that part of the country, as they had to trade in stick and wood to make ends meet, as most of them were widows and bread winners of their family.
Also, Kadiatu Kamara a woman in her late fifties narrated that she was finding it extremely challenging to trade in wood and stick, because she normally covered long distance to transport her goods to a market place in Makeni town and life was becoming very unbearable for them.
They intimated that before now, many of them were engaged in subsistence farming and other agricultural activities, but that they had to abandon their faming activities in favour of sticks and wood selling.
In the light of the above, they called on the relevant state authorities, as well as heads of various institutions in the country to provide them with livelihood schemes like, micro credit schemes and also modernized farming equipments.
Most school girls that are engaged in the trade, appealed to humanitarian organizations, philanthropists as well as the government to assist them in their educational pursuits, so that they would become women of substance and major contributors to development in their respective communities.