Hope for the Girl

By on October 21, 2017

For six years now, the world has unanimously agreed to seriously discuss the plight of the Girl on October 11th of every year. After recognizing that the world’s 1.1 billion girls are a great source of all things good including power, energy, and creativity, the need to discuss their plight seems rather solid. Girls all over the world are seen as the absolute future of the human race and they deserve not just the right treatment and attention but the right environment in which to thrive.

The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

In their quest to advance the discussion around the Girl Child in Uganda and find solutions to the problems the girl child faces, Reach a Hand Uganda (RAHU) decided to bring together a number of young people from all over the country for a dialogue around the same. Among these were students from various schools, several stake holders and advocates of the girl’s child’s cause; all gathered at Serena Hotel for what would turn out to be an eye opening event.

IMG_5136The Share101 dialogue at Serena Hotel

RAHU is a youth led non-profit organization focused on youth empowerment programs with an emphasis on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. They also focus on changing social norms and values that limit access to SRHR services and information through designing effective communication strategies and campaigns to create awareness and mitigate sexual health risks among the young people today.

Their focus for the Day of the Girl was to showcase the struggles that the Ugandan Girl faces while highlighting the opportunities that await her. They did this by having a number of girls testify about their lives and share experiences, some of which made a person or two shed a tear.

The team leader of RAHU, Humphrey Nabimanya  echoed sentiments that were being echoed world over regarding the girl child.

“This year’s International Day of the Girl Child presents an opportunity to reflect on where we stand as a country in promoting rights of women and girls especially when it comes to economic empowerment and reproductive health, and that is why we are having this Share101 under our Voices for Health Project.” he said.

IMG_5183Humphrey Namibanya (Founder and Team Leader RAHU) 

The guys at RAHU seem to recognize that the discussion about the girl child cannot be held in isolation. The discussion MUST be held with the boys in the vicinity. After all, it is the boys who end up either enabling the currently unfortunate status quo or doing away with the hurdles that the girl child faces. As such, there was a discussion about what role the boys can play in improving the status regarding the girl. Students (both boys and girls) from various schools were asked what their thoughts were and many of the girls voiced concerns around marginalization and being restricted in areas of sports, leadership and other disciplines. One of the girls was confident enough to say she had the ambition and dream to become president and no one was going to stop her.

IMG_5219A victim of teenage pregnancy telling her sad story

Quite naturally, as someone who was quietly in attendance and in agreement with what was being said, it warmed my heart that some of the older girls who have made it in life are consciously and intentionally paving way for their younger counterparts. RAHU has been able to create a platform where the older folks can mentor and pave way for the younger people to learn and grow. This for me, is what will create the right transition for the girl child from ignorance and innocence to enlightenment and purpose.

And while some of the girls might suffer unfortunate incidents like sexual abuse and early pregnancies, marginalization and relegation to the back of the line, there is a general hope that seems to linger in everyone’s mind and heart especially if organisations like RAHU keep up the good fight.

IMG_5114Bright Faces full of hope

“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.” ― Coco Chanel, The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World’s Most Elegant Woman

a.k.a Beewol
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