Amina Laminu sells hot Hausa koko every morning to many senior high school students who, only two years ago, were her classmates.
She is seventeen now.
She would have been nearing the end of the second year of a high school education had she not been forced to marry at age 15.
“My parents were poor so I had to stop school when my husband told them he wanted to marry me,” she reveals.
Amina is not the only female in her circle of friends who has had to drop out of school because of an arranged marriage.
“It is common,” says Sekina Banda, Amina’s childhood friend who sometimes helps with the koko business. “My friend Fatima also got married last year before B.E.C.E and Laraba’s big sister too.”
Amina admits that she herself would have liked to have completed school but remains adamant that early marriage is not an entirely terrible thing.
She explains that her husband is kind to her; that he set up the koko stand for her, which enables her to make enough money to help her parents out financially; and that an education would have been a more expensive path to the same end, anyway.
“It is about making money and giving a good life to my family,” she says. “School is good but it takes long and the money I get from selling koko is more than some workers’ salary.”