Sultan - an interview
Sultan is one of the clients who the Nubian Rights Forum is assisting to get a birth certificate, which he now urgently needs to continue his education. A birth certificate is required for enrolment in secondary school. His Mother Aisha put in the application, acting on behalf of her son, but Sultan himself has been following up actively on the process. His expectation was that it would be straightforward and he would get the birth certificate after perhaps 3 weeks or a month, but it was six months and counting when this interview was taken and he still has no birth certificate.
Before enrolling in Form 1 [secondary school], I stayed at home for an entire year due to lack of the birth certificate. I was emotionally stressed because all my peers were at school while I stayed at home.
I started the process of applying for a birth certificate in March . Every moment I used to go to the Nubian Rights Forum paralegal office to follow-up; I was told the birth certificate wasn't ready. I also went to the government office twice, but when I was there I felt fine and confident. Last month when I came to check with the paralegal on the status of the application, I was told to bring the attendance register from the health clinic – the government wanted to ascertain the originality of my clinic card, to verify if it was real. Some people buy fake clinic cards in order to register their children. But I couldn't bring the attendance register because the clinic where I received care as a small child is now closed. Up until now, I have no birth certificate and I have been told it's not possible to register for Form 4 exams without it, and that's giving me stress. Teachers keep telling me that they want the birth certificate.
If I get my birth certificate, I will be happy. And I will also pursue sponsors for school - because there are options for financial support to continue my studies but they require a birth certificate to enter the process.
Aisha, Sultan’s mother:
There is some stigma from neighbours – because they were talking about how my child was not in school. I also feared since he wasn’t in school he might start engaging in criminal activities since he was idle at home.
Aisha tried talking to the school officials, and they allowed Sultan to register using the health clinic card, but they told her the clinic card would not actually be sufficient over time, and that she had to provide the birth certificate. She told the school that they were in the process of applying for the birth certificate and that is why they temporarily accepted the clinic card.
“I was emotionally stressed because all my peers were at school while I stayed at home because I didn’t have a birth certificate to join school”