From birth, girls in Kenya are at risk of many injustices. They are at risk of female genital mutilation, sexual violence, child marriage, early pregnancy and not being allowed to finish school. With limited education, they face a future with limited skills to earn a living. Growing up in a poverty stricken village in Kenya, the odds are stacked heavily against them.
But ActionAid Girls Clubs give girls options.
Every Thursday at 3.20pm, Rosalie and Purity, along with their female classmates, gather around the shade of the large acacia tree in their school yard. This is the Girls Club.
Once a week Purity and Rosalie, along with 40 other girls, learn about their bodies, their rights and their options for the future. They learn about harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation, and how to prevent it by speaking out against it or seeking help at places like ActionAid-run safe houses.
The girls learn about early child marriage and early pregnancy and learn how to demand their right to an education and to stay in school. At the Girls Club, Rosalie and Purity also learn about domestic violence and learn that if their husband beats them, it is wrong and they should not accept it. They learn how to stay safe from the risk of sexual violence and rape – a risk they face each day as they walk to school or to the river to fetch water.
Most of all, the girls learn that they can create a better future for themselves.
The lessons bring ‘taboo’ topics out into the open. Students learn about the reproductive system and reproductive health, and how their bodies change due to puberty.
Poor or non-existent toilet facilities along with the great distances many girls walk to school keeps the girls at home while they are menstruating. A toilet has recently been built at the Girls Clubs so that the girls can have some privacy during this time.
“I am glad we have our own toilet and a place to go when we are menstruating now. We look after each other and care for each other in the village, in case something happens that is wrong. Our Girls Club motto is to be my sister’s keeper. That means it is my duty to guard and protect my friends and sisters.”
"I have a right to eat, to shelter and to an education. At the Girls Club, I feel safe. We share our experiences and what girls face. We learn to say no to female genital mutilation or if our parents want us to get married or stop going to school".
For the girls, this is life changing information.
But there are many girls in Kenya who don’t have access to this education. There is an urgent need to expand the Girls Club program into more schools - to reach more girls in the communities in Kenya. Please will you help?
Your kind gift can give girls skills and support to create better lives for themselves.
- $120 could pay for a teacher like Margaret, who will lead, support and encourage the girls as they learn to speak up and speak out.
- $200 could help reprint the books ActionAid has had especially written, to guide more young girls through some very sensitive issues.
- $500 could help build a toilet and water tank for girls to use when they are menstruating, offering them privacy, security and comfort.
Your gift today is an investment in the future of girls like Rosalie and Purity. Thank you.
*The names of the girls have been changed to protect their identity