World Girl Child Day was declared by the United Nations two years ago to be set for Oct 11th of every year. This is a day where people all over the world are to put extra emphasis on empowering our young women as well as raising awareness about gender inequality. In countries like Ghana, where girls experience significantly more barriers to achieving what their male counterparts achieve (because of systemic oppression), it’s especially important. Things like equal rights to education, jobs, who you choose as your life partner, etc are still not in the girls hands. They are determined by a system which often gives preference to males in all of these areas.
I’ve written about my girls group on here before. It’s probably my favorite weekly activity. Every week girls aged 12-13 meet at our house for girl talk about physical, mental, and spiritual health as well as a mini yoga session.
For International Girls Day we did dramas (thanks to Chris for allowing us to dress up in clothes) about how to say no to sex. Too often these girls are approached by older men and boys for sexual for favors. I’ve had both girls and adults tell me what a problem this is in our community. There’s a lack of education in this area and many girls don’t no how to say no.
The whole starting point of girls club originated with a meeting with the school headmasters. They expressed a concern over the high amount of teenage pregnancy and dropout (staying in school is the BEST thing these girls can do for themselves and for the development of their country). So that’s become the heart of girls club as well as teaching them how to care for themselves and their community. Part of empowering them is teaching them that it’s ok to say NO! The dramas went over well. Some of the girls were uncomfortable at first, but the goofy ones started acting as boys and then everyone was laughing till the end. I think this is a conversation that we will continue to return to, as it’s a big one. Girl power!!!
I’ve also been in contact with the non-profit Days for Girls. I’m incredibly excited about partnering with them. Their website is http://www.daysforgirls.org . They will be coming to educate the girls about hygiene and the female menstrual cycle as well as teaching them how to make their own boutique reusable sanitary pads! Many girls in our community miss a week of school every month due to insufficient means to manage their period (remember how education is the absolute key? Missing 9 weeks out of a 9 months school year isn’t helping!). Pads are often too expensive and there is currently no local way of managing your period for long stretches of time, like a whole school day. Enter Day of the Girl! Not only will they provide the girls with beautiful hygiene kits that include 8 reusable pads, 2 pairs of panties, soap, a towel, and a drawstring bag, but also lessons on how to make the kits themselves! Our friend, who is a tailor, will be attending the meetings because she is interested in learning how to make the reusable sanitary pads to sell to the women in our community and the surrounding areas. What a great income generator as well as a way to increase feminine hygiene and practice! My hope is that the girls and women here will start to see their period less as a source of shame or burden and more of a way to celebrate being a woman. You will be hearing more about this because I’m working on writing a public grant where friends and family can contribute:p Who’s excited ?!?!