Support a Girl living on Kalangala Island.

Kalangala Island is one of the areas most hit by HIV/Aids and this puts the girls at more risk. During this year’s 16 Days of Activism, 1st -3rd December, we want to set out to the island to empower the girls and give them hope for tomorrow, as well as sensitize the parents about the need to protect and support their daughter to attend school,

The state of HIV prevalence in Kalangala Islands is simply worrying. Kalangala is one of more than 50 islands making up the greater Ssese Islands found in Lake Victoria.
The findings show that HIV prevalence rate in Ssese Islands is 27%, higher than the national prevalence rate of 7.3%, marking it as a hotspot for promiscuity.

The Girls living on this island are faced with a number of challenges including

  • Child marriage,
  • Teenage pregnancy,
  • Defilement,
  • Sexual exploitation,
  • Parental neglect to mention but a few.

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Every day, two girls are defiled in Kalangala fishing communities and many of these girls fear reporting abuse to police for fear of being punished and ashamed by community members and this gives perpetrators an opportunity to continue abusing them and others. Many of these girls are denied access to education and health as highlighted by the DPC Kalangala – Musisi Richard.

To address these and more challenges that are affecting the girls on the island, a massive joint effort is required. As the saying goes, “There is Strength in Unity”

During this year’s 16Days of Activism that will start on 25th November – 10th December, Raising Teenagers Uganda in partnership with Girls Not Brides Uganda National Alliance will have a joint outreach to Kalangala Island aimed supporting vulnerable girls with mindset empowerment on how they can overcome the challenges that they are faced with including sharing of relevant information and distribution of educational and sanitary materials.

Additionally we will sensitize the parents and law enforcement officers on the need to protect and support children especially the girl child.

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Girls on the Island need our love and support

The Trip details:

The event is scheduled for 1st-3rd December.

Participation is the event is open to all members of GNB Uganda, religious leaders, political leaders, schools and all individuals that feel the need to support our girls on this island. Members are encouraged to donate items that they feel will make a difference in these girls’ lives. Items could include clothes, shoes, scholastic materials, sanitary towels (both reusable and disposable pads), and financial support among others

Kalangala Ferry

Estimated activity cost

In order to be part of this event, members will contribute 170,000shs that will cater for Transport and accommodation for 2 nights.

Please Note that this amount excludes meals

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The power that lies in Sponsoring a Girl Child

It was magical as Jane met with Babirye for the very first time in 7 years. when Babirye was 7years old, she got a sponsor to take care of her education plus other requirements, but she never knew how her sponsor looked like and never thought she would ever meet her in life. At that time her mother had lost all hope as she also had other for children to take care of. Jane took on the responsibility of paying the little girl’s school fees and is still doing so. She did not know how this girl looked like but that did not stop her from being her sponsor. Indeed you don’t have to have met this girl before for you take a decision to sponsor her education

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Jane meets Babirye for the very first time after seven years of paying her school tuition.

On 24th October, Jane and I set out to meet our girl who stays in Mityana- Busunju, about 100 kilometres from Kampala. On arrival in Busunju, we found Babirye and her twin brother waiting for us together with the administrator- John. It was magical. A moment filled with love and tears of Joy. Babirye was glad to finally meet the amazing lady that has made sure she attends school everyday of the term. Gifts from Canada were handed over to the girl and her twin brother. All i remember is that smile on the little girl’s face and it gives me hope for tomorrow.

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Babirye Rashida is now 14years old in Senior Two.

Jane still pays her tuition and is determined to go on until the girl completes school. She wants to be a Doctor in future. Many girls in Uganda need such support. An educated girl is an empowered girl. When you educate a girl child, the whole nation benefits.

We also had the opportunity to meet Babirye’s mother and her relatives and friends at her home. These ladies had turned up to finally meet the kind lady from Canada that is sponsoring Babirye’s education. It was such great joy.

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Jane with Babirye’s mother- Nalongo.

The mother had made for Jane a gift of a broom with her name on. This was so touching and its an expression of gratitude and appreciation for her role in Babirye’s life.

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The relatives and friends of Nalongo that had come to meet Jane and thank her for choosing to sponsor Babirye.

That day was filled with happiness and joy as we moved from place to place following up Babirye’s progress in school. We had the opportunity to meet with the teachers and discussion her academic world. We offered the guidance that was required and in the afternoon we hit the road back to Kampala.

Jane kept telling me that am a very good driver especially as most of the cars kept bypassing us at a very high speed.

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Babirye had also prepared a special gift for her sponsor. A very beautiful bag that she made with her own hands. This was a magical moment as Jane received her gift. I could feel the love myself.

Sometimes its the little things we do in life that create the biggest impact in someone’s life. I wish to appreciate you Jane from the bottom of my heart for your love and kindness. For taking a decision to come to Uganda and meet and encourage the girls to stay in school. To offer your experience as a means of motivation for young people. We celebrate you and we shall forever remember you.

Sharing the Canada experience with the Ugandan girls.

When Jane told me last year that she was coming to Uganda this year in October, at first i thought she was joking. This 81 year old friend of mine had followed my work on social media for a period of 2 years and felt the need to come to Uganda and meet the girls that i was working with. Her intention was to encourage and motivate them so that they see the many reasons why they must stay in school and complete their education. On 19th October, she arrived in Uganda and it was her first time in Africa. Whereas she was worried about the Ugandan weather, she fell in love with it immediately and was so comfortable  until the day she traveled back to her country on 1st November.

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Jane speaking to girls at Lugoba High School

Jane visited different schools and shared her growing up experience with the girls which left them more motivated. As a retired teacher for English and History, the students felt so much attached to her and were so humbled by her love and care that brought her to Uganda to support the girl child. She assured the girls that the challenges they are facing today are not unique to them alone, many other girls have faced the same hardships but its only the strong hearted that stand out and achieve their dreams.

The girls felt so cared for and promised to read heard and complete their education.

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Jane speaking to Girls at Our Lady Of Africa Namilyango.

Many times all that these girls need is motivation and i always appreciate every one that finds it important to reach out to them. Jane touched a number of lives of children including the Autistic children that we visited at DORNA CENTER. She supported the center by buying a number of items of art and craft that are made by these children.

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Jane meets the Autistic Children at DORNA CENTER.

She sung for them and they joined in the singing. This means a lot and i strongly appreciate you Jane for loving our children this much.

THE IBM HUSAIN FAMILY GIVES BACK TO COMMUNITIES IN UGANDA

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The biggest and sole reward of giving back to community is the realization that you’ve made a significant change in someone’s life. On 25th August 2017, The Mudassir Husain Family came to Uganda all the way from England to reach out and support different communities in honor of their father who was born and grew up in Kalisizo Masaka. Their father left Uganda in 1972 back to England but he always spoke to his Children about Uganda and specifically the community where he was born and raised and how he wishes to come back and meet and support the people in that community.

One year after their father had passed on, the mother and children plus their friends decided to raise money and come to Uganda to fulfill their Father’s wish. They wanted an organization or people with who they can work to fulfill their mission and so they connected with Bharat Manek- the Principal of Lohana Schools and his wife who connected them to our organization- Raising Teenagers Uganda and together as a team we were able to make everything happen in only 5days that they spent here in Uganda.

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In 5days, they were able to reach out to so many people and touch their lives in different ways. Some of the areas they visited and made donations include;

  1. Water tank at Lugoba High School, in Kawempe.
    2. Two hospital beds donated to the Uganda Hospice in Makyindye.
    3. Three wheelchairs donated to the Kampala School for Physically Handicapped Children.
    4. Food stuff to the HIV/AIDS unit at Kawaala Health Centre in Kasubi.
    5. School bags, foodstuff and clothes to the children at Good Shepard Orphanage in Kisyeni.
    6. Many textbooks to Kololo Senior Secondary School where their father studied!
    7. Various items pledged to Sanyu Babies Home in Mengo.
    8. Clothes and solar lamps in Jinja.
    9. Clothes, a lot of foodstuff, solar lamps and sanitary pads for girls in Kalisizo-Masaka.

At St.Andrew’s Kalisizo Primary School they supported the girls with sanitary towels. They also provided them with many other items such as rice, posho, sugar, cooking oil, milk, washing soap, plates and solar lamps. 30 families in Kalisizo were supported.

Their message to girls was to keep in school and complete their education.

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At St.Andrew’s Matale Kalisizo Primary School in Masaka District

The Family also visited Kampala School of the Physically Handicapped-Mengo where they supported the institution with wheelchairs that can help the physically handicapped children to be able to move from one place to another.

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The Husain Family together with Bharat Manek-the Principal of Lohana Schools

Education is one important aspect that they uphold and they wanted to reach out to some schools and support the children. They donated a Water Tank to Lugoba High School- Kawempe.

While there they realized the challenges that students face once there is no water in the school. The head teacher of the school informed them that students move about 3 kilometers in search for water and this affects their academic performance since time for lessons is always encroached on. They fetch water to use for cooking, drinking, bathing and washing their clothes.

The school management is so thankful for this donation because it will save the students from walking long distances in search for water. When schools lack water, the Girl Child suffers more especially those that have already begun menstruation, It is there important for all schools to ensure that they tap in rain water and harvest it for children’s benefit.

 

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The Husain Family with some of the students and staff at Lugoba High School

A word from Husain:

“Clean Water is one of life’s essentials. Every human should have access. This will tank provide easier access to children who walk miles each day to get this resource which we take for granted. Having young girls travel many kilometres to get water day or night on foot – just to drink, wash etc each and every day is painful to see. Others take this for granted in this day and age. This water tank provides clean water for children and locals so that they can have a better quality of life and have access to an essential resource – water!”

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Hope Nankunda- Team Leader- Raising Teenagers Uganda and the Central Region Coordinator for Girls Not Brides Uganda

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Hope Nankunda with the Director and the Head Teacher for Lugoba High School.

The Visit to Sanyu Babies Home

The family reached out to children at Sanyu Babies home where they donated a number of Items to the institution and the children. Sometimes all that these children need is Love and we are glad that the Husain family demonstrated that love.

“Babies and children abandoned from as little as 3 days old – this isn’t right. Parents: Either through their illness or their poverty and lack of food – cannot look after their own stomachs, so how can they look after babies – unfortunately abandoned. Sad stories and many orphans – but organizations like Sanyu are making a difference. In the future there are efforts to reunite, or provide to foster families – but the early upbringing, are done in places like this”.

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At Sanyu Babies Home.

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At Kawaala Health Centre in Kasubi.

Some of the other places that were visited include Missionaries of the Poor where they also touched lives of many other children.

They also visited Hospice Uganda where they donated 2 hospital beds.

The Kindness exhibited by this family cannot go unnoticed. It was their very first time to come to Uganda and all they did was share loves and smiles with people they had never seen.

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 The love you have shown to Ugandan people will forever be remembered. God Bless you the work of your Hands.

 

ABOUT RAISING TEENAGERS UGANDA

RTU is a Non- Governmental Organization that has existed since 2014 with the purpose of empowering the girl child. The organization aims at creating safe spaces for engagement of adolescents to discuss and debate issues affecting them. We empower them with skills and knowledge on assertiveness, communication skills, Menstrual Hygiene management, reproductive health education as well as Career guidance and counseling services.  RTU also works to address concerns related to violence against children in schools and advocating for the right to education for every child. The organization is also a member of Girls Not Brides Uganda and we coordinate the Central Region Working to end Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy in Uganda.

We work to ensure that No girl drops out of school because of Menstruation and we have so far been able to support over 3500 girls with support from Individuals, Institutions and well wishers. We believe that If we empower 1 GIRL Today she will be able to Empower 20 GIRLS Tomorrow.

 

Give Girls Some Light.

Many times some girls are forced to abandon school because they can’t stand the humiliation that comes with menstruation especially if they are unable to afford sanitary pads to manage their menstruation periods.

These girls could be orphans and have no one to run to in such moments. As a result we are having many uneducated girls and yet its possible to support them if we only put our heart to it. Many of us are who we are today because someone held our hand and supported us while growing up.

At Raising Teenagers Uganda we are working to keep girls in school by supporting the less advantaged ones with sanitary pads and underwear so that they can attend school with dignity and pride. We help to build their self esteem and encourage them to report any form of abuse inflicted on them.

We always receive the sanitary pads from kind hearted individuals and institutions in the last 2years, we have been able to support over 3000 girls. Its amazing to see them in school and ready to complete their education.


These are our future mothers, doctors, lawyers, engineers to mention but afew. If we don’t support to achieve their potential, we shall miss out a lot in one way or another. 

Are you better positioned and are able to support such girls, please do and give them some light.

They Hiked Mt.Muhavura to Break Stigma Around Menstruation.


When it was anounced that there will be a hiking event on Muhavura ranges with the intention to create awareness about the challenges vulnerable girls go through once they begin menstruation, we never knew that it would turn out to be as memorable as it is now.

40 people came on board to hike for the Girl child and out of these, 15 made it to the peak of the mountain. This was a record breaker. No such big number had ever got to the peak on the same day. This explains how determined people are ready to break the menstruation stigma and support vulnerable girls to attend school everyday of the term.

 The Hikers did it with determination and love despite the many challenges that were met along the way. None of the challenges compares to the pain that vulnerable girls go through due to lack of sanitary pads.
Today many girls are missing school some days every month while other are dropping out of school due to menstruation matters. We are saying that this can not continue. Each one of us can do something small to support a girl in need of support especially if its to do with provision of sanitary pads.

The Hikers had experiences to share with the world and each hiker almost had a different experience. But the common experience amongst them all was the fact that at the end of the day,  it was worth it. And its nothing compared to what vulnerable girls go through.

Peace Namayanja is one of the Hikers that made it to the peak of the mountain and even though her hiking shoes let her down along the way, she never gave up. She still made it to the peak 4317 meters above see level.

I personally wish to appreciate everyone that joined us for this hiking event. Your participation means alot to us.

The organisations that came along: Joy for Children Uganda, NOPE Uganda, Kegra, European Union in Uganda, Raising Teenagers Uganda, The Lawyers that came along, the individuals that made contributions, we celebrate you.

We look forward to having you around in our upcoming events.

GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING SERVICES ~ VERY NECESSARY IN SCHOOLS TODAY MORE THAN EVER BEFORE

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There are many different reasons why  Guidance and counseling services are very important in both Primary and Secondary schools as well as Some Institutions of high Learning. This helps to promote positive change in the lives of many students as well as their parents. Would you love to know the school where your child goes requires the services of a professional counselor!!

1. INCREASED ENROLLMENT IN SCHOOLS
Learners in educational institutions- Originally classes were estimated at less than 50 students per class; but now they accommodate thrice or four times the number. Due to the increased number of learners the social, psychological, physiological and personal problems that face these learners are more than double.
It is essential that proper guidance be made available in schools to make it possible for students’ problems to be identified and effectively dealt with.

2. CHANGING SOCIAL PATTERNS:
A lot of changes have taken place and many more will continue to take place in our cultural and social patters of life. This is as a result of the intrusion of other cultures and social habits, and the developments in modern science and technology. Such changes bring in new ways of life and values.
For instance:
• Ways of dressing have changed.
• Relationships between children and parents have changed.
• Ways of worship have changed from traditional to foreign worship.
• There is Increase in unemployment and under employment leading to;
1. Depression
2. Alcoholism and drug – abuse
3. Crime and violence
4. Individualistic as opposed to communal way of life.
5. Cultural and traditional practices tend to hinder girls from pursuing certain educational programs
Girls and boys face major challenges in:
• Dealing with changes in adolescence.
• Peer Influence
• Making educational decisions.
• Handling the conflicting cultural messages and values.
• Managing their sexuality in a social environment that encourages delay in adult hood.
• Coping with changes in family structures.
• Understanding and coping with issues of HIV/AIDS e.g.
1. Single parent families
2. Adolescent headed families
3. Breakdown of the extended family
4. Existence of orphans

All these and others not mentioned here are challenges that affect the student’s life and performance in schools. They have to be assisted to face them objectively, with courage and appreciation through guidance and counseling services.

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Its Important for well placed people to go out of their way and reach out to girls in rural schools and encourage them to stay focused. This means a lot to such girls.

3. CHANGING CONDITIONS IN LABOR AND INDUSTRY:
Uganda is advancing in service and technology industry leading to the emergence of new demands on the part of employees and employers.
There is higher demand for more specialized forms of education and training. As such, there are many new study programs and subjects being included in the school curriculum. e.g. technical education, vocational subjects, and IT.
These are aimed at providing appropriate types of knowledge and skills to meet these new demands.
The programs and subjects being new, require that the students be properly guided on appropriate choice of subjects visa-a-vis their desired careers.
They should be made aware of the available industries and their job requirements such as the qualifications needed to join them.
They should therefore be given career information and this is best done through guidance and counseling services.

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4. LEISURE PROBLEMS
Due to advancement in technology, work that used to take long time to accomplish can now be done in much shorter time.

Therefore, young people have more free time at hand than before.If left on their own, many students or school children may not know the fruitful and more valuable ways of spending their free time. They may start engaging in undesirable activities like;
-Drug- abuse including alcohol,
-Pre-mature sexual intercourse and prostitution. Others may engage in unnecessary loitering which ultimately results in acts of indiscipline.
These activities can ruin their education and ultimately their future life.

It is therefore essential that guidance and counseling services be given on the more appropriate ways to spend free time. They should be guided on how to engage in productive activities; like playing games, participating in club, religious activities or helping the community around the schools and colleges.

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5. GENERATION GAP – PARENT SENSITIZATION
This is a gap between the parents and children in terms of age and experience. Such a gap results in differences in interests, values tastes, beliefs, goals, and ways of life and methods of approach to problems.
It tends to create rifts between the two groups. For example the young people of today would like to discuss matters of sex with their parents but the parents especially those who grew up 30 years ago and beyond see this as a taboo.
Children of today will need shoes, watches, school bags etc. to go to school but there are parents who will argue that these things are not necessary.

They will argue that they went to schools without these items but they made it.
Hence, both the children and parents need some guidance in order to understand and appreciate these differences and live amicably.
The parents/guardians should be guided that the times are fast changing and they have to gradually change from the old ways.
Some students perform poorly in schools due to the conditions they live in back in their homes.
Also, the teachers should understand the biological, psychological, sociological problems that the stage usually brings and try to discuss with the young people and the parents/guardians; and try to find solutions to them through the methods of guidance and counseling.

 

Minimum Standards for Guidance and Counselling Programs in schools
• Records of Students who receive counseling services
• Community involvement in supporting Guidance and Counselling activities
• Introduction of clubs in schools
• Careers days/weeks conducted
• Friendly school environment
• Talking environment with appropriate Guidance and Counselling messages.
• Improved academic performance
• Good teacher-student relationship.
Parenting Workshops and other capacity building workshops for teaching and non- teaching staff is done on special arrangements.

Rights Photo.

That Girl. Our Girl.

There is that time when every girl child needs someone to talk too. That time when she goes to the bathroom and finds blood on her knicker for the very first time and has never heard about anything called menstruation. She could be 8years old, 9 or 10. Imagine how that feels especially if no one has ever told her about periods!!

Her mother, her aunt , her older sisters have not told her about that time when a girl begins puberty and the challenges that come with it.

Its the reason i wake up everyday thinking about that girl. Wishing that i had a way to speak to every girl about this matter so that they understand that its normal.

The reason i want to tell every boy in school not to humiliate any girl once They stain their dress.

The reason i want to tell every teacher to be very considerate as they deal with such issues in school. A very small comment can make a girl want to abandon school because this matter is very personal.

The reason i want to meet every parent and beg her or him to speak to their young girls about puberty and its challenges as well as how to accommodate those challenges. Many girls don’t know the relationship between menstruation and pregnancy. They need that information. How about you spare some time and share such important information with that girl.

Every girl has the capacity to excel in life only if they are given an opportunity. 

MENSTRUATION SHOULD NOT MEAN END OF EDUCATION.

GIRLS.

In 6 months  2,646 girls from different schools in various parts of the country have received sanitary pads and are now attending school everyday of the term without worrying about their menstruation matters. These girls can now compete favorably with their male counterparts.

In December 2016  Hope Nankunda- an educationist and adolescent counselor who has made it her life mission to support vulnerable girls to stay in school in order to reduce the rates of child marriage and teenage pregnancy launched a GoFundMe fundraising campaign with an intention to fund raise from the possible sources towards providing the vulnerable school going girls with sanitary towels, thereby keeping them in school regardless of menstrual experiences. Some girls in rural schools face a number of challenges related to menstruation and in most cases they are forced to misses school some days every month or even drop out of school due to lack of sanitary pads. Different people from different parts of the world joined the campaign and have supported the girls significantly and can now attend school every day of the term without worrying about menstruation.

Who contributed?

Lohana Community Kampala felt the need to support our Keeping Girls in School Project. The ladies donated 200 sanitary pads in kind after organizing and carrying out a cooking competition in order to raise money and support the vulnerable girls to stay in school. They also donated a Water Tank to school in Makerere Kivule slums- Grace Fellowship Primary school which is now serving an enrolment of over 300 students. Girls in this school would suffer more during their menstruation due to lack of water.

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Afripads Uganda supported the campaign by donating 2000 sanitary pads, 2000 underwear and 2000 Girl talk Booklets that have relevant information about menstruation which girls can use to learn more about the basic details on menstruation matters and how to manage different situations.

Rainbow International School Uganda organized a Teacher Talent show where the teaching and non teaching staff presented songs, dances, skits, Fashion shows, Creative shows, to the parents and students in order to raise money and contribute towards our – Keeping Girls in School Project. The show collected 3, 308,850 Ug shillings. That will provide sanitary pads to 225 vulnerable girls in rural schools.

 

The Mt.Muhavura Hiking Event

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This was organized in partnership with an intention of raising awareness about menstruation challenges that girls go through and to break the stigma around menstruation.

On 12th May 40 Hikers set off to Kisoro District in Western Uganda and on 13th May they hiked Mt. Muhavula Ranges. Out of the 40 Hikers, 15 went up to the peak of the mountain, 4137 meters above sea level and this was record breaking for the Uganda World Life Authority team as they informed us that it’s the first time a big team of hikers getting up to the peak on the same day. This explains how people were determined to do the impossible in order for the vulnerable girl to attend school with pride and dignity and be able to complete their education without having to feel humiliation and embarrassment because of menstruation.

We still call upon well wishers to support us so that we can support more girls out there that are missing an opportunity to attend school due to menstruation related matters.

Empower 1 GIRL and She Will Empower 20 GIRLS.1

How is the Future without Our Children!

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Imagine a world where every child is educated, empowered and able to contribute to the development process!!

Today, many Children have been exposed to exploitation and abuse. This is in form of child sacrifice, child trafficking, child labor, child marriage, child torture and most times this comes as a result of Domestic and gender based violence. Some parents have in one way or another contributed to these situations either knowingly or unknowingly.

What has happened to our society? Where has the love gone? Today some parents and relatives sexually abuse their own children. Others have even got their own daughters and nieces pregnant? Where are we heading? Why have we decided to make our own children suffer? Young girls are dying while giving birth, why? Because their bodies are not ready for child birth!! Did we really suffer the same way while we were growing up??? What future are we preparing for these children.

Through our programs of Guidance and counseling in schools, we get to hear what children go through in their homes and its really painful. Some children say they prefer to stay at school for the rest of their lives without going home due to the conditions at home. They wish they din’t have to go home for holidays!! They keep all the pain to themselves because they believe that no one will understand them. Some have resorted to drug abuse in order to forget their problems yet this is not a solution.

Why don’t we take it on as our responsibility to protect children! Whether we are related to them or not. Long ago a child belonged to a community, but today, its to whom it may concern!! For how long will this situation continue? Can we create an environment that allows every child to enjoy his or her childhood! An environment that will make boys and girls proud of who they are? Its never too late for change to be realized, we just need to be interested.

It is impossible to realize the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 if we don’t put children into consideration today because they are the future we are planning for. Its as simple as that. Protect Children and help them to meet the future that they rightfully deserve.