Girls’ Empowerment Bootcamp / Empowerment Videos
THE BIG WHY
A girl in rural Uganda is expected to be able to carry 20 kg on her head long before she is fully grown. She is expected to do housework, care for younger children, and do as she is told. If she has brothers, younger or older, they will be the first to be enrolled at school. If there is money, she can go too. If there is not, she will have to stay home.
Her period is her own matter. Very often, her father is not setting aside money to buy sanitary pads and she has to stay home during her period. This sometimes (way too often) is solved by ‘helpful’ young men who buy the pads and expect sex in return. This is how many young girls in Uganda end up as mothers before they are even adults.
This pisses me off, to put it bluntly.
And when I am pissed off, I will do anything within my ability to change things.
What is in my power is to teach these young girls how to stand up for themselves, teach them to discover their worth and own it, encourage them to fight for their rights to educate themselves and build a life for themselves. A life where they are independent.
4 FACTS THAT MAKE ME WANNA DO THIS RIGHT NOW!
4 out of 5 girls don’t make it to high school.
Living in Uganda is hard work if you are part of the enormous lower and lower middle class. You wash by hand, you cook on fire, you often live 1-2 hours from your workplace and work (if you have a job) 12-14 hour workdays with only Sunday off. This means that someone has to do all those domestic tasks. Often this is the young girls and therefore they never really make it further than Secondary school.
40 percent ! of girls are married (off) before age 18
…that is, if they get to stay within the family. They might be lucky to be sent off to help another family as babysitters or maids. But a staggering 40 percent are married off to, often times, older men because it releases dowry.
Girls are very likely to skip school during their menstrual cycle.
In one year this means that they get about 2-3 months less education than their male peers. The reasons for skipping school are many. Some cannot afford menstrual hygiene products. Some are using leaves in their underwear and are worried they might fall out when the teacher beats them (!). Grrrrr. Some are ashamed of bleeding because there is no sexual education telling them that it is natural and a great gift. I could go on….
24 percent of girls get pregnant while they are still teenagers
That is one in four. Often times this is one of the girls who really wants to go to school during her menstrual cycle. She may have been using leaves to try to protect her clothes from the blood, but then this young man tells her that he will pay for her pads. Great! How lucky she is…. She thought. He wants something in return and she ends up out of school with a baby. The young man? He left and takes no responsibility.
AND THEN THE HOW
Since covid-19 has made it impossible for us to carry out a bootcamp as previously intended, we have joined a new project that is currently being implemented in Busia, Uganda close to the border to Kenya. The project is aiming to educate and empower young mothers and young mothers to be.
The number of young mothers has risen incredibly fast during the covid-19 lockdown in Uganda and it is very urgent for the girls to learn how to handle this dire situation.
SO. We are currently working on an empowerment curriculum via videos, local facilitators and worksheets for the participants. The aim initially is to give the girls tools to work on their awareness and self-image, the power of the mind and the power of goal setting. Later on, as funding is coming in, we will be working on adding to the portfolio.