The statistics of 1 out of every woman being physically or sexually abused in their lifetime are alarming. Yet with the COVID-19 pandemic, this number was even greater in many parts of the world and in the communities we serve. Even though the world is adjusting to a 'new normal, the impact of this pandemic especially in éxercabating gender inequalities is still being felt.
In our communities, many girls dropped out of school, and we saw an increase in teenage pregnancies and cases of sexual violence. For many of these girls, normal no longer exists. Yet we have seen their resilience and courage in choosing to believe in the hope for a better future. We partnered with Ujamaa Africa to train 100 girls with verbal and physical skills that they can use to protect themselves and their friends from abuse.
The full-day event dabbed 'Fight Like a Girl' equipped the girls with information and skills that would help them to scan their environment, de-escalate potential situations of abuse and defend themselves where need be. We are grateful that we could do this and we believe that the skills will help keep the girls safe and reduce cases of sexual abuse.
In September we celebrated 3 of our university scholars who graduated with their first degrees in Human Resource Management, Procurement, and Community Resource Mobilization! These 3 amazing and powerful young women have overcome insurmountable barriers to attain their academic dreams.
They have risen above the barrier of poverty, healed from past traumatic experiences, and utilized every resource availed to them to become the best versions of themselves. With the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to adjust to changing school schedules, attending virtual classes, and even canceled semesters. But no barrier, not even the pandemic, could hold them back.
They remained committed and resilient and it has all paid off. Join us in celebrating this win that was also made possible by your generosity!
Throughout the pandemic, our scholars have been learning to adapt to changes and learn in new settings. As difficult as this season has been, we've also seen our scholars grow in strength, maturity, and fortitude. As they recently settled back into school again, they are so hopeful and grateful for the new experiences that await them ahead. Currently, in Kenya, we have one high school scholar finishing up her fourth year and 3 high school scholars finishing up their third year. In Zambia, we just welcomed two scholars who transitioned from high school to university with Freely in Hope!
Thank you so much for believing in them as we've been responding to the needs that COVID-19 presented. We are so grateful for the global community that supports the dreams of survivors!
Our girls have navigated the pandemic with resilience and courage, dealing with many changes including a very tight school calendar. They have persistently pursued their academic dreams overcoming many challenges. As they have closed school for the holidays our focus has been to provide them with mental health support to help them process their experiences from the previous school term and equip them with skills that they can use to cope and grow in a healthy way.
Our Mental Health Specialist introduced Tension, Stress and Trauma Release Exercises (T.R.E) as one of the interventions and it has been very helpful in helping our girls release the trauma that they have been carrying. They seem happier, lighter and more excited about their goals and dreams. We acknowledge that a lot has changed so we are continually modifying our support to best meet their needs. We're grateful for our community of support, including our donors, that make it possible for us to expand our capacity to provide much needed support to our scholars. Thank you.
If I were to use one word to describe the girls in our scholarship program it would be RESILIENT! Like all other girls around the globe, they have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic. They were out of school for a long time with most being exposed to unsafe conditions in their communities. When schools opened, most had to quickly adapt to online learning. Yet in spite of these and many other challenges they have remained focused and committed to their dreams.
We recently met most of them for a leadership training session and hearing them reiterate their dreams was inspiring. Each scholar printed their favorite picture of themselves and wrote their dream on the back. They then shared this with each other and affirmed and celebrated each other's dreams. We believe that they will lead us into a beautiful future where systemic change will normalize justice and we're here for all of it!
Thank you for supporting their dreams through your generous giving and co-creating the future with them!
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