My name is Lilian,every day after school,i have to help my mother sell fish by the road side.we sell fish till 9pm at night to help bring food to the table.im 13 years old and almost sitting for my final exams next year.i know at this time i should be reading and it is also risky for us to be outside at that time.But life in the slums is hard and we have to support each other.We are nine in our family and our dad ran away from home.Safe Spaces supports me with transport to go to school and also get school supplies.This has made my school life abit easier as i am not sent home every now and then.my grades have improved and now im seeing myself becoming a doctor i have always dreamt of.
Two years ago it was so hard for me to go to school on time and i never attended classes during my monthly periods as did not have sanitary towels,now i receive them every month from Safe Spaces and im able to remain in school.
Safe spaces would not be able to support me without your help.I pray for you every day and you are always in my heart.
Thank you so much and please dont leave us alone,we need each other.
Many young women join Safe Spaces tired, burnt out, depressed and angry with life. Many have gone through intense periods of crisis characterized by a breakdown in relationships, problems with our families, betrayals of trust, bitterness and deep hurt by their living conditions. They need a safe space where they can teach themselves how to feel pain and how to talk about what they are going through rather than denying it or seeking comfort in all the wrong places. Nancy shares her story.
My names is Nancy am 21years. In a family of of 9, three girls and six boys, am the first born. We live in maili saba slums. I joined primary school, I did not complete because my parents did not have school fees for me to continue my education. So I dropped in class seven. Later I heard about safe spaces program in my community and I joined because I wanted to change my life and I saw many opportunities in the program for me. I talked to the manager and she was so understanding to all my issues and I felt so happy.Most of my life was idling and hanging out with wrong company what many girls do when they lack education.
Safe spaces brought another kind of lively feeling in my soul and gave me a chance to learn a sport that I had never played or heard of, all I knew was playing football, but I learnt basketball and it was so special to me because it improved my discipline and self-esteem. Now I can also play basketball and am very happy to be in the organization. Apart from basketball, I got opportunity to learn about reproductive health and life skills. I did not believe when I found myself learning computers which I thought I would never learn because of my education background.
Now im a trained automobile mechanic and will complete my studies in 2 years and I believe my life will never be the same again. I thank safe spaces program for making me have worth in my life. I get inspiration from My mentor, she is always there for us any time, any day you need her. My dream is to become the best female automobile mechanic in Kenya and share this skill with other girls in my community.
Without your support,this dream is just a worse nightmare one will never want to dream.I believe we are together in this journey.I see light beyond the tunnel and without you this would not be possible.
As we come to the end of the year 2012,I feel your presence every day giving young girls an opportunity and facility that they can look at every day with hope for a better Tomorrow.
100 girls have been receiving sanitary pads every month because of your generous contributions.
10 girls have been able to attend school by bus every day throughout the year because of your kind hearts.
1000 girls have been able to get information on their reproductive health hence their self esteem and confidence improved through your hearty donations.
30 girls in the senior basketball team which has given 5 girls jobs in the cooporate world have been getting basketball supplies uniforms,sports bras,playing shoes etc. through your donations.
3000 community members have been sensitized on the importance of supporting a girl child,giving them equal opportunities in education and sports, stopping FGM and early marrieges,addressing Gender based violence and mobilizing community to support girls empowerment programmes through your generous donations.
I do understand that you work so hard to earn your money. I also understand that you have your needs and budgets but you still find something to support the less fortunate girls in the slums and difficult life circumstances.You are our heroes and heroines in life changing opportunities. We are greatful and thankful for your life changing opportunities in our lives. We love you so much because you love us more.We hope to be together in the year coming,we hope that you will never get tired of being our friend in this tough journey of living as tough times never last, but tough people do.
Merry Christmas, Prosperous 2013
with lots of love,
In the month of June,July and August lots of emphasis was put on the education of the girls and women on FGM (FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION). Despite medics talking about the effects of FGM, It is still practiced by various tribes in Kenya. Informal settlements have all kinds and tribes as inhabitants. People are still practicing their traditions and in this case FGM remains a hard nut to crack but through education and having support programs around, girls who have been taught on its effects are taking front stand in saying no to the practice and seeking help when the crisis occurs. Safe spaces has saved around 20girls from the knife through educating the girls and the parents since the the beginning of the year.
Effects of FGM taught during this month include
-Death-caused by over bleeding
-lack of sexual pleasure
-Anemia due to loss of blood
-HIV/AIDS transmission-in traditional cases where people share the cutting knives.
At the end of the topic,10 parents volunteered to be dialogue pioneers with other parents to stop this practice .50 Girls vowed not to participate in the practice and in cases of threatening by parents the matter should be treated as a criminal case and let law take its course. However the issue is to be treated with a lot of care to avoid confrontations and misunderstandings in the community as this is meant to be a social change and not a rebellion against people’s culture.
“I HAVE LEARNT A LOT OF THINGS ABOUT GIRLS THAT I DIDN’T KNOW,I KNEW FGM WAS NORMAL AS MY MUM SAID,I HAVE LAERNT THAT IT IS HORRIBLE FOR A GIRL, I'M GLAD THAT MY MUM KNOWS THIS NOW AND I'M FREE TO ENJOY MY LIFE IN FUTURE”
MARY 12YRS OLD
It is only through Education, and holistic education, that there can be a dim of light in the slum. What we are doing is just part as we don’t know for how long. It is not a one day thing, nor a 1 month, nor a 1 year thing but it is a continual struggle for this dream of having an elite community out of a shanty community embracing the change. We hope to continue joining hands together with like-minded people to continue this journey. As together we can walk far, but alone you can only walk fast.
17th sept. 2012
Thank you so much for extending your hands to us through this tough journey of empowering girls through life skills,reproductive health rights and awareness and sports.Your support has been very valuable and as a result many girls are getting life changing opportunities.
-6 girls have been trained on automobile mechanics skills and will complete their course in 2years time
-50 girls have gotten support to continue with secondary school education through scholarship fund.
-500 girls have been trained as peer educators and help other younger girls in the community.
-over 1000 community members have been sensitized on the importance of giving both boys and girls equal opportunities in life through our community outreaches.
-10 girls have been trained on photography and filming skills and help in telling the untold stories through photos and videos.
-8 girls have gotten full high school boarding scholarship through basketball.
-2 girls have gotten jobs in the cooperate world through basketball.
-50% of girls are able to stay in school during their monthly periods since we provide sanitary towels to them.
-The rate of teenage pregnancies has reduced by 10% in the slums since 2008 due to the reproductive health information they get from the programme.
We hope that our friendship continues so that we can continue making long life changing impacts to the less fortunate,marginalised and less voiced girls of the Eastlands maili saba/kariobangi slums in Nairobi.Kenya
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