This week, the eight intrepid reporters who make up Heshima Kenya's afterschool journalism club produced a brand-new edition of Midnimo, the Heshima Kenya program newsletter, all about human rights. You can flip through and read the articles here.
“Sometimes the girls say that they cannot be journalists because they are refugees,” says Imgard, the wonderful volunteer who has headed up the class for the last three months. “And I simply tell them that they have gone through great adversities to be where they are, and nothing can bar them from achieving their dreams."
Journalism Augments Traditional Curriculum
“I don’t see the class as only about journalism," she adds. "It’s also about building self-confidence and learning to understand the world around them.”
The class is held after the regular Girls' Empowerment Program schooling and is optional for the girls to take part in- but the interest so far has been great and the students who signed up for it rarely miss a class.
The class was started to augment what the girls learn in their regular curriculum including reading, writing, and critical-thinking skills.
The girls are also learning about human rights issues that affect them and about current affairs. For example, Imgard says that from day one the students were yearning for information on their home countries like DRC and Somalia, and that reading and discussing the newspaper together was not only good for reading comprehension skills but provided lessons in geography, history, and politics.
The girls have also been learning to use cameras and the art of photography. For most, this is their first exposure to even holding a camera - and they are very excited to learn more skills.
Just the other week they had their first photo "exhibition" at the offices where a few of each of their photos were printed and hung on the wall. The other students from Heshima Kenya gathered to view their photographs on display and it was a proud moment for both the photographers and everyone in attendance.
Saying Goodbye and Giving Our Thanks
And sadly, this week marks Imgard's last week of volunteering. Thankfully, we have two new volunteers - a photojournalist from Canada and a communications volunteer from the US- here in Nairobi who have offered their time and expertise to take over the class.
On Imgard's last day, each girl read aloud a letter of thanks for her instructive lessons and kind mentorship. It was very heart-warming to hear as many girls in the class had not been able to even write their names before joining Heshima Kenya.
"You'll never be far from my mind, and you'll always be a part of my family," said Imgard.
By leveraging the pro-bono support of volunteers- and your generous donations - a huge difference is being made in the lives of girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity for an education. Thank you!
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