| Sep 11, 2015
Brrrm! Brrrm! You've bought the Safe House Car!
Fancy cooking here? New kitchen needed!
Thanks to you and other generous donors, we have reached our next big milestone and placed the order for the new vehicle for the Safe House. This is a huge achievement which would not have been possible without our donors from Global Giving and supporters from churches and Trusts and others who have raised money through sponsored events. As Mama Rhobi, our Project Director would say, with a huge smile Asanteni Sana. Thank you all very much indeed.
Just a reminder of why the vehicle is so important: Serengeti District where Rhobi and her team work, and where sadly FGM is still a threat to over half the teenage girls, is a very large area with scattered communities living in remote villages, far from tarred roads and social services. For many communities the nearest Primary School may be 15 kilometres away and the nearest clinic even further. Rhobi and her team need to take them the message that FGM is very harmful to women’s health, with many damaging side effects and destructive of a happy married life and that it is quite unnecessary- and, on the contrary, that girls have a right to education and should not be forced into early marriage. Every year in Serengeti, 7-10 girls die after forced FGM. Rhobi takes to these villages a team of singers, actors, dancers and musicians and they perform role plays which are very amusing but are persuasive with their anti-FGM message and catchy songs and dances which soon get the audience joining in. So the new off-road vehicle to transport the team will be hugely important in the campaign to eliminate FGM. You'll be glad to know that buying through a German not for profit agency you bought the vehicle at less than half the retail price!
But, of course in the ‘cutting season’, the car will be a rescue vehicle. Rhobi has built up a team of volunteers who alert the Safe House when there are girls escaping FGM and wanting to get to the Safe House. You’ll no doubt remember the sad occasion last time when the old car broke down and five girls were snatched by their relatives and forced to undergo FGM. Let’s hope that will never happen again. At the Safe House opening ceremony in February, my wife and I were in tears as we heard one of the girl ‘survivors’ tell of the trauma of that occasion and her grief for her friends.
And there’s more good news! We have done a great deal to improve the staffing. Two Trusts are paying the salary of the Social Worker, Sophia for the next three years. Sophia is a friend and counsellor to all the girls, and she monitors the binding agreements made at the Police Station when parents took their daughters home. So far all agreements have held and no returning girl has been harmed. Next, a generous British couple are funding the post of a Teacher in Charge to run the Vocational Training Centre and also a part-time legal assistant. The Safe House is not just against FGM, but it is for women’s rights, and women who have suffered from mental or physical abuse, loss of home or farmland are being referred there also. The legal assistant will fight their cases.
Have we finished? No! The Dining Hall and kitchen are still not built. In fact because an American billionaire is building an airport in Mugumu for rich tourists to get to the Serengeti National Park, the existing foundations will be destroyed by an access road. So now the kitchen and Dining Room have to be relocated on the other side of the Safe House.This makes the perimeter fence for the Safe House and Training Centre even more important, not just to deter intruders and to protect the vegetable garden, but also to protect the girls from traffic. So from now your contributions will go to the kitchen, dining room and fence. To all our regular donors and to new supporters, once again, a very big thank you.
The car you bought- but it will be blue.
The foundations the road will demolish