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February 20th 2017

Making the Most of an Education

Earlier this term, Deputy Headmistress Dr Coates-Smith spoke in Assembly about the importance of girls’ education, and her belief that educating girls is the key to helping achieve women’s equality.

During her Assembly, Dr Coates-Smith spoke to the girls about continuing to support the education of girls via their chosen professions.  She used Cobham Hall Elder, Rahima Gambo as an example of this.  “When you leave school and have a profession, you can carry on supporting the right of girls to an education.  Rahima Gambo is a photojournalist who lives and works in Nigeria.  She went to boarding school in this country and then went to University, where she gained her BA and Masters degrees.  She writes about, and photographs, all sorts of subjects and issues, many of them tied in with LGBT and Education issues that you were debating in the MUN General Assembly.  Her images have been published in the New York Times and the Financial Times.

“One of her most recent longer pieces of work has been on the experience of students attending schools and universities in the midst of the Boko Haram insurgency in North-East Nigeria.  For those of you who follow the news, you will know that Boko Haram is a militant Islamist group, which has caused havoc in Nigeria through bombings, assassinations and abductions.  They do not believe in girls’ education, and abducted 276 girls from a school in Chibok in 2014.

“Why have I picked on Rahima, apart from the fact that I think she is a brave woman in what she is highlighting in her work?  At school, she was the youngest of three sisters who attended the same school; both her sisters had big personalities so at times it was difficult to follow in their footsteps.  I knew and taught her as a student here at Cobham Hall, and look at what a success she has made of her education.  Here is somebody with the same education as you have available to you who made the most of it, and now is using that education to work for equality for others in her country and elsewhere.”

Her exhibition, Education is Forbidden, can be found here:

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