Got Oyenga Primary School epitomizes the work done by One Village At A Time.
Got Oyenga Primary School in Siaya, Kenya, has 8 teachers employed by the government and 4 others who are paid by the parents. It boasts about 600 pupils. Just this year, Got Oyenga started a secondary school with assistance from local leaders and community contributions. Due to high demand, the only secondary school in the community enrolls 26 students.
Life skills sessions for adolescent girls are held regularly in the school. Attendance is always high and the girls themselves propose topics for learning. The teachers actively participate in these forums.
Some girls are purchasing pads one at a time. Reusable sanitary towels are given to the most needy teenage girls. Your contributions to One Village At A Time provide reusable sanitary pads that allow girls to stay in school full time instead of missing one week a month during their menses. We’ve found that in schools where girls receive sanitary pads, they are more confident, more vocal, and more empowered.
Girls in Got Oyenga are not allowed to drop out during pregnancy. This is a strategy by the headmaster, who says it has helped reduce pregnancy incidences.
Because of your contributions, our girls are becoming community leaders. Thank you!
Empowering girls and women in Kenya is not enough. As a responsible small nonprofit, one of my goals as Executive Director is to see that young women are brought into positions of power in our organization. At present, our board consists of members who are under 40 years old, most of whom are women around 30 years old.
While Global Giving has and continues to help us raise the funds needed for the girls and women in Kenya, we cannot rely upon them alone. We have a dynamic team of women who planned and executed a fundraiser on Feb. 12, 2013. Their skills at marketing, social media, and planning events are extraordinary.
I believe that too many nonprofit organizations rely on the same people to sit on different boards. I believe that they can rely too heavily on older people with “contacts” who will bring in the large donations. And that is probably true. But if we are to survive and raise a philanthropic nation, we must encourage the young. We must give them the opportunities to sit on boards, know how a 501©(3) works, and listen and incorporate their “out of the box thinking.” We do that at One Village at a Time.
"Now that my daughter has [sanitary] pads, she speaks up in the house and teaches me what she learns. She has found her voice." A mother in Siaya, Kenya, whose daughter would hide in the bushes during her menses, shared this revelation with us. Her daughter is now able to attend school every day because she has the supplies she needs during her menses.The key to keeping Kenyan girls in school is to make sure they have the necessary supplies. Yes, pencils and tablets are important, but more important are sanitary pads. Without pads, the girls miss one week of school every month and miss out on vital education. Last year One Village At A Time started giving the girls pads, but it took a full year before they told us that they were also missing the panties they needed to use the pads. It is difficult to comprehend poverty in which little girls do not have underpants. And it was not until they trusted us enough to tell us that we could change the situation. In the schools where girls received pads and panties, we've found that they are more confident; they feel empowered to speak up in class. They also teach their mothers about reproductive health. When you educate a girl, you change the life of the village!Thanks to GlobalGiving, we can now equip our girls with the panties and sanitary pads they need ... and all the girls in our 3 schools can attend school every day. Thank you for helping our girls find their voices!
For more, please check out this video:
In Kenya, the children are in their final school term. Thanks to Global Giving, all our girls who are menstruating have what they need to go to school all 4 weeks of every month. So when they sit for the national exams in November, they will be alert, prepared, and ready to outshine the boys once again.
What we did discover this term is that many of the girls did not have underpants to hold their sanitary pads in place. They finally admitted that they were using woven root stems to hold the pads on. Because we have been able to serve these girls through your donations, they now all have underpants and are fully equipped.
The greatest lesson in working with poor rural communities is that there are things we can’t imagine they don’t have. Even our workers in Kenya who are of the same tribe assumed the girls had panties, yet it took 2 terms before the girls told us of their predicament.
So often it is the very small things, not the big ones, that truly make a difference. At $1.50 for underpants and $10 for pads, each girl has all she needs. And, frankly, changing the lives of the mothers of the next generation for $11.50 is a pretty reasonable cost.
One Village At A Time, in conjunction with KMET, uses a reproductive health specialist to teach the girls about their bodies. Most of the girls know nothing about how their bodies mature, how to take care of their changing bodies, and what to do when “that time of the month” comes along.
When we first got to Malanga and asked the girls about their menses and how they handled it, they hung their heads ashamed. They said that they missed one week of school every month because they had to stay home. With only one uniform, no girl wanted to risk the embarrassment of her flow being seen. And most importantly, they had no supplies. The girls admitted that they used leaves or even cow dung to stanch the flow.
We have supplied all 386 girls at Malanga Primary School with reusable sanitary towels that are made by the women funded through our microfinance program. The results of this effort have been amazing. The girls are now scoring higher on their exams than the boys, because they don’t miss school.
Thank you for your continued support. It truly is changing the lives of women and girls in Kenya!
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