by Swaiha Dustiman (13 years-old) and Thomas Bwire
What happens when you give girls the opportunity to speak for themselves? For the last three years, Uweza Foundation has provided an answer to this question by providing an open space at their center where girls from Kibera can meet and discuss issues relevant to their daily lives out without fear. Empowering girls by imparting knowledge of various life skills topics helps them to discover their inner selves. They are also able to build a positive self-image and develop their communication skills from a young age.
Last Sunday on the 20th of this month, the participants of Uweza’s girls’ empowerment program were actively engaged on many interesting topics affecting adolescents in Kibera. We learned about sexuality and how we can be able to avoid early, unplanned pregnancies, which can lead to school drop outs. We were led by Teacher Lilian, a former club member and aspiring nursing student.
Another part of the discussion centered on the need for support from our parents to help us through this critical stage of life and better understand our needs as young teens. According to the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) Adolescent and Youth Survey Report for 2015, poverty and lack of school fees are the main causes of secondary school drop outs for youth aged 15 to 19 years old in Kenya.
With such data in mind, it is our core mandate to ensure we become more responsible by making right choices in life as a mirror’s reflection of who were are. It has been proven time and again that strong educated girls can make resilient communities. Such forums at Uweza will be our cornerstone to empower and better help ourselves and everyone in the community.