After having various sessions with our #GirlsMatterClub members in different schools, we realized that some girls always sit and listen but don’t say anything. So during our last session we asked each girl to write a topic that she wants us to discuss in our next session and give reasons why. When we received the small papers back. I was challenged, I felt pain, I felt sad, the girls are suffering a lot in their own homes at the hands of some fathers, relatives, house maids and strangers. Raising Teenagers Uganda creates a platform where young people can share their challenges and receive
We know that many homes in Uganda use house maids, but do you know what happens to your children when you are not at home!!! Our girls need our protection. One of the girls wrote that their house maid forces her to touch her private parts as well as practicing sex with her.
This calls for attention from everyone. Some house maids could be HIV+ and will infect your children. How can we be present in our children’s lives so that they open up to us. Be a friend.
See how much your daughter is forced to keep to herself. She may even know the affairs between the father and house maid but if the mother is not close, she won’t open up. And the pain eats this child up, you start to wonder why they are not performing well in class, but how can they concentrate with all this pain!!!
Some of the issues that came out strongly were cases of defilement and rape by some fathers, uncles, and neighbors.
Girls are forced to sleep and have sex with older men who in turn threaten them and they keep quiet but suffer silently.
Defilement still happens and some girls won’t report. We need to break the silence at all cost. Get close to your children and give them the confidence that you care.
At Raising Teenagers Uganda, we are creating spaces for young people to share their challenges and receive help and guidance. We are doing this in our #GirlsMatterClubs in 4 schools.
One other girl wrote this and it gave us hope that if we continue empowering girls, they will learn to protect and defend themselves.
There are many other schools that need us to form clubs there but we can’t afford because we don’t have funding to do that and the schools won’t even provide transport for our volunteers. Could you be willing to support our program, please get in touch with us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets work together and help girls to realize and achieve their dreams.
An educated girl is an empowered girls. Join us to make a difference.
We believe that story telling can help to transform lives and foster positive change in society, however some girls may not be in position to tell their story but can draw. When this 1st year student was asked to draw anything and communicate through her drawing, this is what she drew. In explanation she stated that many times university students are neglected yet they are faced with a wide range of challenges and need psychosocial support.
“Everyone is talking about rural women and girls but who prepares us for university life!!”
There is a lot of sexual abuse and exploitation accompanied by threats and yet these girls have nobody to talk to. All they need is a shoulder to lean on. A voice to speak about their challenges. Someone to encourage, motivate and inspire them. Someone to assure them that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
She drew this during a training on Language, gender and leadership network that brought together members from different organizations working to create positive change in society.
Raising Teenagers Uganda was among and we are planning to follow up and see how we can reach out to University students.
We are seeking for support to make this possible so that these young ladies can be empowered and supported to thrive and achieve their dreams.
Did you know that media can do a lot more than we can ever imagine!!! It can even play a very important role in ending Child Marriage!! This event brought together 3 organizations; Joy for Children Uganda, Equality Now and Raising Teenagers-Uganda at the 62 Commission on the status of women as we shared our best practices on how we have used the media to create impact in society in relation to keeping girls in school and ending child marriage.
Through proper use of our social media platforms and sharing information about the dangers of child Marriage and benefits of educating girls, even those that we can’t reach physically have the opportunity to learn, understand and do something different to end the practice. We have taught girls about their rights and how best they can report abuse and exploitation so that they received justice.
Sharing testimonies from girls has helped to encourage and empower fellow girls out there. Some cultures believe that as soon as a girl begins menstruation, she is then ready for marriage and they go ahead and marry them off: but with the use of media, we can inform the world that menstruation is not a ticket to marriage. We write about the dangers of the practice and the benefits of keeping girls in school and we have been able to impact on the lives of many children, girls and women.
With the availability of smartphones and various social media platforms, we believe that everyone can play a role in transforming society. But we also acknowledge the fact that women and girls in rural areas may not have access to such facilities and gadgets, we therefore encourage the use of radios to share information.
We must try everything possible until we see a world free from child marriages.
The print media too can Transform lives by writing about stories child marriage and the dangers that come with the practice as well as expose the perpetrators of the practice and educate the public about the importance of standing up strong for the Girl child in school. Reporting about the successes that come with education of girls will encourage the readers to walk the talk.
Educating girls about their rights can best be done with proper use of media. Let us leverage media to End Child marriage.
The challenges faced by rural girls and women is critical at this moment. At the #CSW62 everyone was in agreement. That if the women and girls in rural areas are supported and brought in the room, included in the discussions, involved in the decision making, then the world would have a lot to benefit.
If the world has to achieve the sustainable development goals, then its very key that the women and girls in rural areas are economically empowered and supported.
Raising Teenagers Uganda was honoured to take part in the 62 Commission on the status of women. We were able to share with the world the work we are doing to keep the less advantaged girls in school.
Our focus on menstruation management continues to impact on the lives of many girls in rural schools who are normally forgotten and may end up becoming victims of teenage pregnancy and child marriage.
Would you like to support our campaign of keeping girls in school, donate sanitary pads and underwear for Girls so that they won’t have to run to men for sex in exchange for these products.
We appreciate everyone out their doing everything possible to support the less advantaged girls.
Many times girls and boys in school are faced with a wide range of challenges that need attention. Most of these are related to puberty and adolescent lifestyle.
Raising Teenagers-Uganda believes that if young people are helped to deal and manage these challenges, they are then able to appreciate themselves and be in full control of their dreams. For the girls the most challenging part is in relation to Menstruation. This is because many parents and guardians don’t find time to educate these girls about this important stage of their life.
Menstruation comes with a lot of un answered questions, taboos, myths and misconceptions that live the Girls confused and many times lead them to make mistakes.
We have introduced “Girls Matter Clubs” in a few schools and they are helping a lot with responding to questions from the young girls. Involving boys makes all the difference. The boys are taught about the importances of supporting the Girls as opposed to humiliating and embarrassing them.
This is helping girls to feel more confident and able to stand strong amidst the challenges. We are building a generation of educated and empowered girls that will be able to contribute to the development process.
We still have many Girls that are dropping out of school due to lack of sanitary pads and as a result they end up becoming victims of teenage pregnancy and child marriage.
Would you like to support the less advantaged girls with sanitary pads!!! Please get in touch with us and make a difference. Life is about making another person happy
While attending the 62 Commission on the status of Women at the UN Headquarters in New York, all discussions were around empowering the rural women and girls. Its amazing how different people around the world are doing everything possible to ensure that the girl child is protected and empowered.
Raising Teenagers-Uganda continues to advocate for the Right to education for every child especially the Girl child. Our main focus is on menstruation and we support rural girls to have access reusable sanitary pads with the help of well wishers that donate the pads.
We strongly believe that an educated girl can transformed her entire family and help in addressing the problem of poverty that has become a major reason why parents decide to marry off their young girls.
We continue to sensitize parents and communities about the benefits of educating their children. This is a message that everyone needs to embrace and share within their networks.
We are glad to have been part of the discussions at the UN and sharing our work with the world about what we are doing to keep girls in school. We have so much concentration on creating platforms where they can share their challenges and empower each other through our “Girls Matter Clubs.”
Motivation and encouragement of young girls can create all the difference. Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young people, join us and support the less advantaged girls to stay in school until they complete their education.
We appreciate those that have stood with us in our campaign of Keeping girls in school. We are making a difference.
We always say #EveryTEENCounts.
Support Girls to stay in school.
On 1st December 2017, a team of 35 members from 15 Organisations set off to Kalangala Island to touch lives of girls in different ways. This was in respect for the #16DaysOfActivism against Gender Based Violence that are celebrated world wide every year from 25th-10th December. This year Girls Not Brides Uganda Alliance- A Ugandan Partnership to End Child Marriage led by Raising Teenagers Uganda so it fit to reach out to girls on the island so that we share some love, talk to them about life, meet their parents and talk to them about why they must keep their children in school until they complete their education. meet and talk to the law enforcement officers and local leaders about why they must attend to cases of sexual violence that are rampant on the island.
These amazing people chose to cross Lake Victoria and touch lives of the girls on the island.
Out of 14 organisations that participated in this outreach, 11 are Girls Not Brides Uganda member organisations namely; Raising Teenagers Uganda, Joy for Children Uganda, Child Aid Uganda, Pick Your Dream Uganda, Amani Initiative against Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancy, Unbound Kampala Limited, African Women Service Trust, FAWE Uganda, Universal Health Development Foundation, People in Need Agency, Uganda Youth Alliance for Family Planning and Adolescent Health, Trailblazers Mentoring Foundation and Center for Participatory Research and Development.
At the Island we reached out to boys and girls at Bihanga Primary school where we interacted and shared words of encouragement and wisdom with the students. we had a counseling session with girls and boys separately and we also gave out gifts to them that include clothes, shoes and sanitary pads to the girls.
A discussion with girls at Bihanga Primary School
Boys and Girls were given tips on how to report violence so that they receive help from government and one of the ways is to call TOLL FREE 116 . They were encouraged to break the silence and report cases of abuse since most of the abusers always threaten them not to say anything to anyone. Some of the girls were able to forward some names of the men that are sexually abusing them which we shared with the authorities and we intend to follow up for action.
Girls were happy to receive sanitary pads and it was well brought out by many of them that they always miss school due to lack of sanitary pads which affects their performance in academics. This affects girls in other parts of the country as well and its very important that we do whatever we can so that the less advantaged girls do not drop out of school and become victims of child marriage due to lack of sanitary pads.
A visit to Bery’s Place
We met with a victims of sexual violence that are being looked after by Bery, a very generous old man that has been on this island for 10 years now. The home is called Bery’s Place &Ssese Humanitarian Services and he currently takes care of 47 girls. His home is the only Children’s home on the island and he is currently struggling with cancer. As he shared his story with us, we realized that he is worried about what will happen to these girls when he is no longer alive and he called upon us and everyone out there to join hands with him and support these girls. He takes care of their education, feeding, medical bills and everything esle. We were humbled by his love for Uganda and specifically for choosing to support these girls because on the island, sexual exploitation is a common practice as men believe that once they sleep with young girls, they will catch more fish the next morning.
Bery Glazer shares his story with us at his home where he takes care of 47 victims of sexual violence.
We supported the girls with exercise books and mathematical sets so that we relieve Bery part of what he has to spend on next year as the girls go back to school. The youngest girls at Bery’s home is 6 years old and most of these girls have been abused by their own family members and fishermen.
The girls shared their different stories with us and request for prayers and support as they expressed their worry of what will happen to them if their Bery is no more. Are you out there and you would like to offer any kind of support to these girls, you can connect directly with Bery via https://web.facebook.com/berysplace/ . This is their facebook page that can give you more details. Share some love and help a girl to attend school for a brighter future.
The Youth Camp
We had an opportunity to meet with the youth that had come to the island for a camp organised by Red Cross Uganda. As we shared with them, we realised that not only girls are abused sexually but also boys by sugar mummyz. The boys requested that we also think about them and reach out to them because they equally need support to deal with the challenges they are faced with.
The young people at the camp had a lot to share and requested that we should always go to their schools and give them counseling services because sometimes its hard to deal with their challenges with out help.
They received books with information on Ending violence in schools and Communities.
We spoke to the about child marriage the dangers associated with it so that they can become ambassadors back in their communities which they promised to do.
We spoke to boys about their role in ending child marriage and explained why they must stand up to support the girl child so that we together build up a world free of child marriage and teenage pregnancy.
Dialogues with Parents and other stakeholders.
We met with Fathers and fishermen and had a discussion on why they must support, educate and protect their daughters. They however expressed concern showing that the government has given a lot of freedom to children to the extent that they no longer listen to their own parents even when they are trying to guide the to the right paths. They requested that such organisations should always reach out to them and offer some guidance. The men also indicated the the mothers have neglected their role of talking and guiding the girl child however these concern came from the women as well, that men have neglected their roles as fathers and heads of families.
Children were also met separately and they too had their own concerns among which include parental neglect. This explains how much work needs to be done in as far as sensitizing the parents about their role in raising children.
Boys were also met separately as well and they too had their challenges to share one of which was parental neglect and lack of access to counseling services. The also expressed concern about the increasing rates of domestic violence that happens amongst their parents which they have no control over and called upon us to always find time and talk to their parents about building up stable families free from violence.
The girls were also met separately and we and some time with them as they shared their challenges with top on the list- Sexual exploitation from men and lack of parental care. They informed us that some of their own parents sell them off to men in exchange for just little money. They are seeking protection services and also calling upon the police to respond instantly once they report cases of sexual abuse.
A meeting with the mothers was also arranged and we had a chance to listen to their challenges. They mainly say that men have abandoned their responsibilities at home and that makes life difficult for these mothers. They want more and regular sensitization program.
It was a SUCCESSFUL out outreach and we appreciate everyone that joined us to the Island. We thank everyone that made donations of all kinds. Touching lives of these people adds a lot of difference and we are glad to have done our part in this year’s 16 Days Of Activism.