There has been some great progress made in stengthening the work of Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe Empowerment clubs. This program is cornerstone of the work of the organisation because much of what takes place in girls clubs impact positively on their lives. Key to what happens in girls empowerment clubs are prevention programs on sexual abuse, leadership and empowerment training that unleashes the potential of girls .
In the last quarter the grant received on this project was disbursed to the girls empowerment club in Nyamandlovu , Matebeleland in Zimbabwe. They wanted to run leadership training for girls and stregthen their capacity as girls to do peer to peer counseling in the likely event they experience abuse. Two trainings were conducted by expert girls coaches and for the first time using a locally designed manual previously tested for effective. Basically this training took their 106 girl child members of the clubs into a process of appreciating gender equality and the many activities the club has done to change mindsets of traditional leadership in the way they treat girls especially those sexually violated and impregnanted. The training created amongst them community girl child rights champions who will be out to protect other girls being abused and especially to detect abuse and report it before it happens.
'As girls we can stop abuse happening against us if we are equipped by the right skills and we can prevent harmful cultural practices. I am happy the work of our girls clubs is spreading across village and we thank everyone helping us build this netwok here in Matebeleland as there is no counseling service provider for girls. We have just to do it', said Maria aged 16 who is club president.
The Club Coodinator of Nyamandholvu girls empowerment club sends her gratitude and said,`Now our girls have a laptop and are connected to the world. Before they think their world is small we will open communication with the rest of the world. We are now connected and feel free to mentor our girls online. Prevention is better than cure.'
In another positive development for Zimbabwe, teh girls empowerment village has managed to refurbish and provide shelter for girls. Due to lack of funding in the past few months , the only place in Zimbabwe to shelter girls from rape, sex trafficking and harmful cultural practices had not been able to take in girls. Volunteers teamed up and the place is a hive of activity.
On behalf of Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe, we appeal to our donors to help us mobilise more support especially to help the new leadership of the organisation who are mostly former girls who once benefitted from the leadership and empowerment wok of the charity. This project is a life line for a lot of girls in the country. Many girls see it as their home and life because of the essential services it provides. The poject needs more volunteers and more funding to hire professional and qualified staff as well as provide girls with basics. The appeals from girls of Zimbabwe for help with education, counseling and basics to live on points to a serious crisis. We all ask donors to intervene with cash or in kind donations and also anyone who can offer their volunteer time is welcome.
We are hoping to keep in communication has there is so much progress on girls clubs and also rehabilitating girls through girls empowerment village. With your suppot we knw that many lives will be saved.
On 9 September 2013, we received US$815.55 donation for our project. We had a request from the newly set up Girl Child Network Sierra Leone for a girls conference to use 11 October which is UN Day of the girl child to advocate for girls education and bring girls from various girls clubs as a unified force for change. It is because of the generous support from our donors that this program was a success. We mananged to make a small grant to Girl Child Network Sierra Leone as well as many leaders who work in partnership with them to raise awareness and mobilise support at community level. This project now wholly run at local level by Girl Child Network Sierra Leone is a big success because it managed to mobilise girls as well as establish an information centre for them. Moving to the next stage we are working to do specific fundraising for girls empowerment clubs leadership training for girls. What we begin to see clearly is that once girls have leadership skills and they develop an inner consciousness of what social issues affect them and ways to deal with them, this goes a long way in grooming leaders unlike before where girls are silent victims of society. The images we see of girls now differ from those before where girls stories came out to be heard only when they are victims and not leaders. True to the goal of this project girls are overcoming abuse and they are achieving their potential.
In the month of October our focus was on refurbishing Chihota Girls Empowerment Village in Zimbabwe so that we could accomodate more sexually girls in need of shelter. We report this was accomplished and daily the village can accomodate at least 20 girls. Recently, we also got a church to donate funds for drilling a borehole so that the girls get clean water and they do their gardening in order to get fresh vegetables for their health. So far at least 17 girls have been provided with food, shelter and escort to court so that they get justice.
Another significant achievement of our project is the way even with minimum resources we staged a global campaign and advocacy on UN Day of the girl child starting with a solidarity network of African girls in UK who wrote messages of inspiration to girls in Africa. We had more girls coming forward to volunteer in our leadership program and to date we have done our empowerment and leadership training with over 300 girls who are now great inspiration in their countries of origin. Such is the way we want our girls leadership and empowerment program to spread across Africa and building networks with them and supporting such activities that they grow an awareness to prevent and protect abuse on themelves.
We take this opportunity to wish all our supporters a great holiday. You made this work great no matter how much you donated. You kept our work going and you supported us to pass the skills to all girls we work with. Next year we hope to have the projects specific for each country and join us if you want to be an Ambassodor for each country project we support. So far we have projects in Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Uganda and South Africa. We have requests for such passionate projects from many across the world but due to limited capacity we will focus on the four countries as well as streghten UK where we are based as a coordinating centre. Step by step and with every donation you give us we maximise results and we donate our time to ensuring we deliver. Have a great festive season and please do come and be part of our new projects to empower girls so that we protect and prevent. It is easier and chealer to prevent than to cure-prevention is better than cure.
Girl Child Network Worldwide received US$256.00 from this project and the funding though small as it may appear was timely. We had just received a phone call from a single mother who left for neighbouring South Africa and she pleaded with us to send a team that would rescue her daughter who had been taken into marriage by a 63 year old man in the rural areas of Chihota.
Our team disurbed the funds to the rescue team to ensure they had enough fuel for transport and that there are enough counselors to negotiate the release of the girl from the man. It took two days of search to get the community to point out to the exact hidden location where the girl was. Meanwhile her widowed mother kept pleading with our organisation to do something. On the final day the team located the girl they found out she was pregnant and showed signs of illness. They reported to the police and were given a medical affidavit to take to the hospital. After a week, the girl was confirmed to be pregnant and the pregnancy could not be terminated since she was over four months.
However in such situations we find that if a girl is conditioned to the abuse and the abuser has taken control of her, it is hard to transform the girl and it takes intensive counseling by some experts. The good part is that the man was arrested for having sex with a minor and he has already appeared in court. The girl is getting some support from Girls Empowerment Village in Chihota. The girl is slowly being rehablitated in Girls Empowerment clbs at neighbouring schools.
Daily we are receiving related cases of girls forced to marry because of poverty. Community leaders take advantage of them. In this report we wish to say even though we assisted one girl with pyschosocial support, there are many in similar circumstances who need immediate physical rescue. What has never worked is a situation where we send word for her to be rescued without being physically there.
This an invitation to anyone who wants to volunteer or offer some long term support to girls like her. She was a brilliant girl with a future like her but she lost it all. We will keep supporting her and her baby until we are sure what course she wants to take in life. We will also keep ensouraging her to do some project in order to help the child. During the time we rescued this young girl, we learnt of many other similar cases in the same area and the rescue team made efforts to support the girls come out of such situations.
There are many cases of child rape needing immediate action and support and please feel welcome to join us.
Our project is new and has not received funding for the past quarter. However we want to take an opportunity to report to our many supporters that there is a real crisis in Africa. The numbers of girls whose lives are threatened with sexual violence is alarming. Social media has made it possible for many girls to break silence on sexual violence and reach out especially to Girl Child Network Worldwide Chief Executive Officer to intervene or advocate.
To many, social media offers them a time to do whatever hobbies they like. But for Girl Child Network Worldwide team, Facebook especially has turned their accounts into rape emergecy reporting platforms. Here is one typical example:
TWO YEAR OLD TODDLER RAPED:URGENT NEED TO INVESTIGATE IN RURAL MUTARE-ZIMBABWE. BABY MAY HAVE URGENT MEDICAL NEEDS As l entered a shoping complex this Sunday morning someone told me a touchy story. As I entered a shop I heard that a 2 year old girl was raped but the case was swept under the carpet. It looks like elders in the village have been bribed and so they are unwilling to help.
RAPE ALERT IN ZIMBABWE 9 YEAR OLD HWANGE GIRL WAS RAPED BY HER FATHER AND HER HEALTH HAS DETERIORATED.
A girl was reportedly raped by her stepfather. The case was not reported until recently when they discovered that her health had deteriorated. Chances are that she did not get medical treatment on time. The father might have abused her thinking having sex with a girl cures one of HIV and AIDS.
Your urgent help in donations will go a long way in assisting these unfortunate girls from Zimbabwe.One would think if they have family they are safe, but daily we receive an average 10 rape cases via social media. Funds will be used to assist with medical and counseling assistence, payment of boarding school fees and food and shelter from the abuser. So far we aim to have up to $5000 a month to keep operations of our Girls Empowerment Villages were resources every month for at least 25 girls per day.
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