The program has now admitted four girls who have completed two months now and exhibit a high degree of learning and change. Much of the activities were indoor and meant to propel individual growth, leaving the month of September to concentrate on outdoor/field activities to interact with other girls and women. Mentors have occasionally joined to offer individual and group mentorship and covered various topical issues like relationships, health and hygiene, careers, businesses and spirituality. Interestingly, the girls are also offering peer mentorship which is an unexpected outcome of the project.
The girls have undergone lessons that have built communication skills that are evidenced by their relationships compared to behavior exhibited when they joined the program. One of the learning methodologies has been through group discussions, preparing Power-point presentations and teaching others on topics assigned as well as taking turns to chair weekly meetings
The group is eager to get girls from their communities organized so that they too can learn. Mentorship was a new concept to them, but they have come to practically and out of experience understand it and can say it is everything that girls would need to have their lives totally transformed. They are longing to go back home, gather girls who have no hope of success in life and walk with them the success journey. I asked each of them how the program has been so far and responded as follows:
Cecily is glad that she has found a ‘home and parents’ and is no longer feeling an orphan. Her hope has been restored. The concept of community service has become very meaningful to her and she feel that she can mentor other orphaned girls to show them that they can still face life successfully. In her own words, “this program has stimulated me to appreciate people and know that I do not only need to help my siblings and those related to me. I now look at the world with different lens, that my happiness is not complete until all are happy, especially other girls. My task henceforth will be to preach this hope and inspire others to do something good to someone else."
Margaret has tremendously acquired computer skills. She now has an active email address, can access information from the internet, is conversant with all Microsoft applications and very proud that she can tutor others given a chance. Moreover she can now confidently stand and talk in front of a group, something she could not when she joined SAWA. In her own words “When I joined SAWA, my self-esteem was too low having been brought up to believe that as a Maasai girl, my place at family and community level is always second-class and that I do not measure to the standards of girls from other communities. My experience having lived for a month with girls from other communities is that we are all equal and capable; they respect me which make me feel good about myself. The lessons on Women’s Rights have particularly been eye-opening. I want to go back to girls in my village and show them that they too are first-class girls. Thank you SAWA for making me believe in myself”
For Caroline, courage and determination - prerequisites to succeed in life are virtues that have brought a lot of meaning in her life. I have learnt to be focused in life and shed off anything that disrupts this, major among them irresponsible sex. She is more touched that sponsors of the program include girls doing ‘odd jobs’ like baby-sitting and dog sitting. “just like other youths from my community, I classified certain jobs as demeaning. My perspective has changed and I can now do anything to earn a living as long as it is something ethical. I know of many girls in my village who are languishing in poverty, yet several jobs like for house-helps exist. It is my duty to educate and change their perspectives.”
For Wairimu who is preparing to join university in October this year, there has been wholesome learning experiences that has transformed her thinking and would positively shape her life henceforth as she summarizes it ‘as I prepare to join university later in the year, I am well equipped to choose my career wisely, be cautious about my reproductive health to avoid unplanned pregnancy and build a pool of friends that I will introduce the concept of peer mentorship to.’
In summary, the project is off to a great start. Your help and support are greatly appreciated.