Woman go prison because she no fit read

Woman and police dey hold hand for outside Image copyright AdvocAid
Image example Miriam (no be her real name) enter police trouble when police come raid compound

'I no plan to plead guilty.' Dis na wetin Miriam talk as she follow BBC 100 women talk about wetin happen wey make judge sentence her to prison.

"Miriam", wey no be her real name, grow up for Sierra Leone and she no go school. As she begin turn adult, she struggle to read and write.

Wen Police arrest her say she dey waka where she no suppose waka, she no sabi di offence and na so she take enter prison -but na from there wey she come get di first experience to enter classroom. With help, she don write her own tori of how she learn how to read.

Police arrest di 35-year-old mama of five pikin for one raid wey dem do inside one neighbourhood after thief people go rob for there.

Wen dey carry all of dem wey police arrest go court, Miriam no understand di question wey di Judge ask am. Dis na wetin happen :

"Wetin be your plead? Guilty or not guilty?"

"Wetin? I no sabi di thing wey you talk."

"You dey guilty? Abeg answer."

"Yes sir."

Miriam give di wrong answer because she no go school to know wetin di word "Guilty" mean and nobody dey around to translate for am.

Wen she begin her sentence, she decide to use di opportunity to go class wey dem arrange for women wey no sabi book for di prison and na two times every week be di class.

Image copyright AdvocAid
Image example Female prisoner don dey do lessons for inside prison like Miriam

Miriam talk say, just like as she dey, many of di other women wey dey di prison with her no go school too. After some months, she stop to dey thumb print documents because she don learn how to sign her own name.

"I like di classes well-well so tey di other women give me di nickname 'School Girl'.

After over one year, dem release am from di Freetown Female Correctional Centre wey dey for inside Sierra Leone.

Image copyright AdvocAid
Image example Different charity group dey provide books for di prisoner to read as dem dey inside prison

Miriam say since dey release her, she don build her own business wen dey support her family. Because of di new skills wey she learn, she don be di chairperson for di local market-women and na she dey keep all di records on top money mata well.

She say: "Wen I no get work for market to do, I dey teach di children for my area how to read and write. I dey use di same methods wey I learn wen I dey prison.

"Di certificate wey dey do for me prove to people say I fit read, write and do mathematics. Dis na one achievement wey I dey very proud about. I still need help to write dis story, but I know say wetin I wan tell you na wetin dey write for di paper, and e give me better sense of control wey I no get before".

Wetin be BBC 100 Women?

BBC 100 Women dey name 100 women wey don give inspiration to people with dia story and women wey dey influential for around di world every year. For 2017, dem dey challenge dem say make dem take care of four of di biggest problems wey dey face women today - glass ceiling, female wey no go school, harassment for public and sexism for sport.