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Feb 7, 2013

February 2013 update

Ivon
Ivon

In Kenya, the new school year begins in January.  After a six week break from regular schedules, GET UP programs for middle school girls get underway again this Saturday, February 9.  Eight women, community leaders in their local areas, have been trained to lead this year’s programs which emphasize dealing with peer pressure, health education, and girls’ legal rights. 

The challenges our girls face sometimes seem overwhelming.  Poverty, disease, and cultural norms all create enormous obstacles to a girl being able to stay in school, perform to her best ability, and fully utilize her talents and skills. 

We are inspired by girls like Ivon, whose parents died five years ago.  Ivon now lives with her four brothers and sisters.  The oldest sister serves as guardian for the others, and stays at home raising corn and beans to feed the family so that the other children can remain in school.  Ivon takes advantage of this opportunity, performing at the top of her class.  She loves math and science, and says she wants to work in the medical field when she grows up.

We believe Ivon has the possibility of a bright future ahead!  Through GET UP meetings, Ivon receives guidance and support from trained women professionals and local community leaders.   GET UP mentors and programs help Ivon to overcome the peer and cultural pressures which could influence her to make harmful life decisions.   

 Your support continues to be a vital part of our efforts with Ivon and the many other girls just like her.  Thank you for being a partner with us, as we help Ivon to GET UP, not give up! 

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Nov 14, 2012

November 2012 update

GET UP girls meeting
GET UP girls meeting

Chung Malo! This means “GET UP” in Dhuluo, the local language in Maseno Division in western Kenya.  On Saturday, November 10, 2012, we held a GET UP club meeting for middle school girls from three different schools.  This was the final meeting for these girls for the school year, and it was a great conclusion.  A local nurse was the guest speaker, and she was a wonderful role model to the girls for what can be achieved if they work hard and stay focused in school.  The nurse spoke to the girls about the importance of setting, maintaining, and achieving goals.  Many of these young girls are orphans living with elderly grandparents, and receiving positive reinforcement from a woman professional is important as the girls begin to make choices about their futures.  As the students listened to the nurse speak, you could see on their faces the dreams that were forming in their minds.

In addition to the guest speaker, each GET UP meeting also includes a specific topic centered on relationships, life skills, or health education.  The theme for this meeting was “Life Skills: Good Communication Practices.”  Given how vulnerable these young girls’ lives are, it is imperative for them to learn how to communicate about what they want or do not want so that men and boys do not take advantage of them.  Specifically, the girls learned about being assertive rather than passive, and how to recognize aggressive attitudes in others.  At the end of the day, each girl practiced what she had learned by acting out their response to situations in which someone treated them in a disrespectful or harmful way.  The meeting closed with the girls linking shoulder to shoulder, shouting, “We will GET UP, not give up!”

Looking ahead, in December high school girls will meet over their holiday break for GET UP: Leadership Development.  Mentors will meet with the girls individually and as a group to encourage, support, and empower the girls.

We are very hopeful that we can be one of the organizations winning the Girl Effect Challenge which will give us the funds needed to fully implement the GET UP program for all age groups.  It is the number of donations, not the amount raised, which will take us to the top, so even a $10 donation can have a big impact on our girls. 

Please help us get the word out!  Donations can be received through November 30 at www.goto.gg/11966.  Join us in our cause to help these bright young girls achieve great things as they GET UP!  Thank you!

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