While at home during COVID lockdowns, scholars of the programs we support faced myriad challenges ranging from pressure from their parents to work to family food insecurity to threats of violence or even early marriage. GLAMI mentors and social workers provided thoughtful, prompt assistance to girls and their families to ensure they received the assistance they needed. But even after life returned to "normal" after schools reopened, the girls in GLAMI's programs still had so much to process as they reflected on all that had happened in the preceding months. In addition, safety concerns prompted scaling back of GLAMI programming to biweekly, rather than weekly sessions.
"Safari ya Binti" was produced as a three month radio pilot project to help girls stay connected to the program and to their mentors while programming was scaled back. The project has been incredibly well-received by scholars, headmasters, and by the entire GLAMI team. This programming has given girls an opportunity to continue to closely engage with the programming, and they have been excited to hear familiar voices on the radio each weekend. Girls who live at school listened with their peers; girls who live at home listen with their families. This was an important additional touchpoint that helped our scholars stay focused on their goals and dreams, in spite of everything they have endured. And, in addition to hearing their mentors speak, scholars were also able to hear from peers in their program; scholars who had previously participated in the curriculum were invited to the program to share ways in which they were able to apply the lessons being taught to their own lives.
While the radio programming was supported by the Australian Volunteers Program, funded by the Australian Government, it is donors like you who provide the critical funding we need to ensure that these mentoring programs carry on. For so many girls, it was this programming and the deep bonds they have formed with their mentors and fellow scholars that proved the only constant in the upheaval caused by COVID-19.
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