One of the goals of the EDGE Project, which remains a facet of the values held by Tawi Inc., is the empowerment of women and children on Lingira Island in Uganda. Most women in the community have long been oppressed and are generally limited to the restricted life of a subordinate to their male counterpart. This past summer of 2012 we worked alongside Women’s Rights Initiative, an NGO local to the Jinja, Uganda area. They serve to empower and educate youth as well as provide trade training to women who have fled from domestic abuse relationships. During our stay we hosted WORI on Lingira and under their direction, taught a lesson on HIV/AIDS. Through this lesson, several misconceptions and important fact about sexually transmitted infections, AIDS, and basic human rights were exposed. Children were able to anonymously ask any questions they had regarding sexual health or health in general. We received hundreds of questions ranging several topics and after gathering the questions we were able to draft answers to most which we explained during the lesson. Once and initial barrier had been crossed – several students, both male and female, actively participated in the discussion of these topics which otherwise may be considered taboo.
Several of the female students who live and attend school on the island are forced to choose between finding whatever means to pay their school fees or returning home uneducated. For many, prostitution can be the only solution to paying for their tuition. There remains a constant dilemma between the necessity of education and the preservation of human rights.
Groups like WORI who have themselves faced such issues and have been born and raised in these communities are a great asset to the women and children of Uganda and communities elsewhere. They continue to remain a great partner to Tawi Inc.