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March 3, 2017 | by  | in One Ocean | [ssba]

The Right to Learn

(Dedicated to my mother and my grandmother)

 

Bare feet, a bush knife, and string bag swung across the back

Fresh bananas, nuts and yams, all in a neat stack

A bundle of leaf on her head, walking down the track

Her skin, and her hair, Melanesian black

 

The sun scorched her head, and sweat washed her brow

Panting breaths, and stooped back as she bent low

Down the rugged village track she walked slow

To the market to sell her goods, there she’ll go

 

Her garden pays an extra wage for her children to learn

Two more need to go to school, so she works hard as she can

She used to stay home while school was for men

However, she works hard so that her daughters too can learn

 

In a few years’ time her daughters go to school

To be like other girls, and to be as cool

To have textbooks, and to sit on their own stool

To be educated, this is the most important tool

 

Today, there is a doctor, lawyer, teacher, and an intern

So in school we worked as hard as we can

To show that women are as good as the men

Because we were given the right to learn

 

This poem won the Pacific Community 2013 Pacific Human Rights Award of special recognition for highlighting the right to education through creative writing.

[ssba]

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