To Be Born a Girl

POEM | By She’s the First Scholars in Uganda, led by Esther

In the olden days
To be born a girl
Was a curse.
Yes, a curse.

Nobody recognized her
When decisions were made
A word from her
Was nonsense.
The kitchen-her office.
A girl as if made
To toil and suffer.

Those days, are they gone?
Girls still suffering.
The majority left with lifetime injuries.

Girl, oh girl.
Good food is taboo for her.
A good child just like their father;
A foolish one resembles their mother.

Inheritance of a girl unheard of
This land, for our boy-child.
But I am a child too.

Who is it that’s left to suffer?
Our sons go to school
And inherit land, houses
And cows.

But remember,
Are not there heights that a girl can reach
Given the chance?
Intelligence knows no sex.
A girl’s commitment surpasses intelligence.

She’s the First,
Dear She’s the First,
Thank you for supporting our girl-child.
Thank you for giving us a bright future.
Thank you for building confidence in us.
For you we shall stand firm
To complete our studies
And come back to support other girls.


Esther, a student at the Arlington Academy of Hope in Uganda, is a 2017 Mentor Breakfast honoree, along with her classmate Dorcus. Together, they led a service project in which they taught women and girls from their community how to make sustainable sanitary pads. In the process, they sparked conversations about feminine hygiene and broke taboos around menstruation.

If you’d like to attend the Mentor Breakfast on November 16, 2017, please visit shesthefirst.org/mentorbreakfast.