THE FUTURE IS FEMALE
“We want girls to grow up believing that they can accomplish anything and that there are no barriers or ceilings to the heights they can climb. We want to remove all of those barriers and ceilings that exist in our society and reach a state of true gender equality. We have lofty goals and cannot achieve our goals alone”. -THE FUTURE IS FEMALE
Individuals between the ages of 10 and 19 are classified as adolescents by the World Health Organization. As much as being young counts for a lot of happiness, energy, and thrill, all good things have imperfections and the same applies to adolescents. They face many issues that range from drugs and substance abuse, child marriages, gender-based violence, mental health issues, unhealthy relationships, and many more.
OAY in partnership with Ambassadors of Hope Foundation and in collaboration with Inua Dada Foundation brought together young adolescent girls at Mathare 4A for a girls’ seminar. Sheila Chepkirui, a volunteer at OAY, started off the seminar by educating the girls on unhealthy relationships. Her knowledge of peer counseling and matters of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) came in handy as it helped in showing these adolescent girls how unhealthy relationships can negatively affect them. Child marriages and teenage pregnancies, which are rampant among teenage girls in informal sectors usually lead to unhealthy relationships. Sheila, also a volunteer at OAY emphasized the importance of setting goals at a young age.
As Arthur Aufderheide once said, “All Knowledge is connected to all other knowledge. The fun is in making the connections.” The girls were curious to know more about healthy relationships and setting higher goals in life. They also agreed on the idea of not settling for less and setting the bar high against abusive, manipulative, and unhealthy relationships in the community.
The girls were also taught about good hygiene and self-awareness. Miss Terry from Inua Dada Foundation made sure to touch base on the same and took the girls through how to clean up after themselves and the proper use of sanitary towels as they cope with the changes in their bodies. We finished the seminar by distributing sanitary towels among the girls and promised to stop by once in a while to check up on them as we continue advocating for adolescents’ wellbeing.
This engagement impacted these young girls with knowledge and hope. Despite the low living standards, it’s important for these girls to know that they are cared for and their rights are continuously being advocated for.
Blog by: Brian Ojunga Odhiambo & Shalom Chepchumba