FIRST THE VERY GOOD NEWS!
It’s new, it’s blue, it’s shiny, it’s at the Safe House. What? The splendid new car that many of you have helped to buy.
In an email received yesterday, our project leader Rhobi Samwelly says:
On behalf of girls and Safe House staff, we would like to thank you and Global Giving donors very much for Safe house vehicle support, I know it is difficult to buy the new Land Cruiser because it costs a lot of money, BUT YOU DID. We would like to give our thanks to all people who donated and enabling the purchase of this vehicle,
Together we have replaced the old vehicle which had done years of service over the rocky roads of Africa. It broke down when it was rescuing seven girls who were escaping from FGM and five of them were snatched and forced to undergo FGM. But the Safe House car is not just a rescue vehicle - It’s a motorised ambassador for the Rights of Women, as it is the transport that takes Rhobi and her team of singers, dancers and musicians out to campaign in remote villages against FGM, wife-beating, discrimination in land-rights and all forms of inequality. One of Rhobi’s excellent achievements is the formation of clubs of young men who boldly wear T-shirts proclaiming ‘My wife will not be cut’. Our team has seen the way attitudes and stereotypes can be changed in 4 previous projects Rhobi has led. At local women’s request, village mills were built and equipped to grind maize, cassava and millet. These mills didn’t just save women trudging 20km through the bush with a huge weight on their heads and often a baby on their backs but changed the status of women in the villages, when the men saw that the women could run an important community asset and make a profit. ‘Wow! Look what our women can do’ was the amazed response.
AND NEXT THE PARTLY GOOD NEWS!
Last year we received from Global Giving an extra grant of £15,000 to establish a Food-Growing Project at the Safe House. The aim is not just to grow food and provide better nutrition for the girls, but to add another aspect of vocational training. All our girls come from farming families. Some parents have limited knowledge of good strains of fruit and vegetables to grow in the soils and climate of the area and what can be achieved with good composting so our girls have been surprised and delighted to see what they can grow in the Safe House vegetable garden. There’s now the possibility of leasing a much bigger plot and hiring a rotavator to get it ready for cultivation. We have an excellent trainer, Helen Carey- a teacher with wide experience of teaching horticulture in Tanzania. Helen has been working as a volunteer at the safe House for several months, but we can’t use any of Global Giving’s grant to pay her expenses, so she has had to go back to the UK. If anyone would like to contribute to helping Helen to go back and continue this excellent work, please donate an amount to Global Giving ending in 16 e.g. £5.16 or $8.16 and we’ll then know to direct those payments to sending Helen back to Mugumu!
FORWARD TO THE NEXT STAGE OF THE BUILDINGS
Everyone in the team is working hard to try to get the Dining Room, Kitchen and Fence built before the next Cutting Season starts in late November. We are 2/3 of the way to raising the money needed, and need the final third. Building will start very soon. So all your donations, except the ones identified by .16 in them (see previous paragraph) will be going to pile the bricks on!
AND FINALLY HOW YOU CAN HELP
Rhobi’s outreach work in the villages around Mugumu where girls are at risk of FGM is hampered by the fact that they do not appear on any maps. If you have an interest in mapping, a spare hour and an internet connection you can help us put them on the map. No experience, particular skills or knowledge of the area is needed and full instructions are here.
For those of you in London, we are having another Songs for Our Sisters concert at the Russet in Hackney on Friday May 20th – all proceeds will go to the Safe House and details are here and it would be lovely to see you there.
AND A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU
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