Smiling Timeabu teen girls posing with their books
Since officially launching the Teen Girls Club in September 2016, the 150 teen girls we serve have been receiving reproductive health guidance and counseling, re-usable feminine hygiene kits thanks to our partnership with Days for Girls (DFG), and have acquired important skills, training, and school tuition. Each member of the clubs now understands her menstrual cycle, a concept that is rarely discussed here in Ghana. Each young woman knows how to use and maintain their DFG kits so they will last three years.
Adisa, a club member from Timeabu, shared, “I no longer stay away from school during that time of the month [due to my period] because I have it covered.” A leader of a Teens Club, Alimatu, said, “Providing sanitary towels for my two daughters each month was heavy on my income. Thankfully, that burden is lifted now due to the DFG kits.”
The financial gains in using the kits have made them attractive to parents in the communities. In fact, in February, a group of volunteers from the US trained our local seamstresses on how to stitch their own feminine hygiene kits here in Ghana, and now several mothers are making and selling the kits as their business to support their family with additional income.
In the community of Timeabu, the girls have taken it upon themselves to volunteer once a week to clean the town, and this has attracted the attention of the community elders. The Chief of the community, Nana, has promised to donate a parcel of land for any developmental project the group desires to undertake to show his support for and appreciation of the ways the girls are contributing to the community.
He shared, “I am marveled by the sudden change in the behavior of our girls since the launch of the Teens Club. They sweep the town every weekend and it has improved sanitation in our community. I am in full support of your group.”
The girls have also been innovative in helping their communities and generating income to support their activities. The girls at Timeabu produce beads necklaces and other handcrafts which they sell to support their group. They use the funds to embark on educational tours to visit the local water treatment plant or airport, to buy reading materials, to donate to sick community members, and also buy tools with some of the profits.
In working with the girls, it has become clear to us that there is a clear need to invest more in their education. This year, Self-Help International is undertaking efforts to help these girls improve their English reading, writing and speaking skills. English is Ghana’s official language, and it is important that they have the literacy skills they need to accomplish all of their endeavors. Thanks to the funds raised during the GlobalGiving Girl Fund Campaign in February, SHI has supplied 150 assorted reading and textbooks to the girls. Each girl has access to one book at a time. The girls have told staff that they are so excited about this recent change in their lives, and eager to continue to learn and develop to achieve their dreams.
Individually, we have also been offering extra tuition to girls in need to help the girls to improve their English language skills and seize every opportunity that comes their way. The girls are gradually coming to understand that education is the key. Their parents have also admitted the fact that their daughters are learning new things, especially about their reproductive health and other life skill activities.
Zenatu, a mother of two members of the teen girls club in Timeabu, testified,“The creation of the teen’s club has brought about tremendous changes in the moral behavior of my children and I am exceptionally happy about that.”
Now, thanks to your support, Self-Help is not only impacting the lives of the rural women in Ghana but that of their young daughters as well. We, the SHI Ghana team, are humbled by the donations from across the globe to support the girls of the three different communities. The teen girls will truly and forever remain grateful for this impact on their lives.
Mark your calendar! GlobalGiving is having a GG Rewards Bonus Day on Wednesday, July 12th, beginning at 8AM CST/ 9 AM EST. The funds are limited, so donate as early as possible to ensure your gift is matched! Increase your impact so that more girls in Timeabu can acquire important skills and the training they need to succeed in school!
Teen girls of Bedabour pose with their books
Zenatu posing with one of her daughters