Empowering Girls with GET UP
Hello friends, this is Linda working for Umoja Partnership in Kenya. ..
Allow me to begin by saying ‘Asanteni sana’- So many services from Umoja Project bring hope to our children: school lunch, education, and empowerment. Much as anyone considers food and education as basic needs for Umoja children, my argument may differ slightly. I, as a woman, consider sanitary towels for Umoja Girls as a basic need. I consider this an empowerment for the girls. During menses disadvantaged girls practically stay away from school whereas guardians struggle to find food for children they count sanitary towels as a luxury. Girls resort to old pieces of clothes which serve as sanitary towels. I can tell you at that point any piece of cloth is used in most cases it doesn’t meet hygiene standards. They suffer so much shame, discomfort and high health risk.
Thank you so much Sunrise book club and other supporters for helping Umoja girls get the hygiene products. They attend school without missing a single day on their menses with full confidence, dignity and without shame. Missing school has a direct negative impact on the academic performance of girls. Yes it does. No single teacher will provide private tuition to cover up for what girls lose during their menses. They suffer self-defeat even in areas where they’ve the ability to bring out the best of them in school. Now that they have Get UP, at the end of Primary Education, many Umoja Girls score high marks just as boys.
Through your support, we’re able to hire professional women who are role models and mentors to girls, particularly senior girls in secondary schools and colleges. Culturally, mothers play key roles in development of children but more so with daughters. In cases where some Umoja Girls lack mothers, Umoja becomes their mother. Mentors and staff serve the role of mothers. Mentors encourage girls to believe in themselves. Professional women have served great examples that women can equally compete for chances assumed to be taken up by men. Girls are now informed that they can relate well with young men without engaging in untimely sexual behaviors. Girls have attained the bargaining power for safe sex and when it’s the right time for it. I have learned this from the female students in colleges, who openly share their experience at a girls’ discussion. Umoja girls no longer drop out of school due to pregnancies. This is a great achievement for our girls. I speak as a staff and their elder sister/mother.
Due to the struggles Umoja Guardians go through to provide basic needs to children particularly food, providing a descent school uniform which is a requirement in our Public Schools is not anything easy for them. Umoja pupils use single piece of uniform for very long which wears out. Thank you partners for enabling us provide this essential need to our primary schools.
Parents will bear me witness that girls are more sensitive to some issues compared to boys. Sometimes a torn shirt or trouser will not bother much, but torn girl skirt or blouse will make girls feel embarrassed and ashamed.Torn uniforms kill the self-esteem of the pupils especially the adolescents.
I join my colleagues to thank you so much for enabling us transform the lives of Umoja children and their families.
All the great achievements are a great motivation to make my heart and strength, keep working for Umoja children.
You remain in my thoughts and prayers always and more so during these difficult moments we’re going through globally. I pray for blessings upon your families. Once again, thank you for your kindness and warm hearts. Stay safe and peaceful.