The girls in our scholarship program have big dreams for themselves and their communities. They want to be lawyers, educators, social workers, and nurses who leverage their experiences and skills to end sexual violence. We believe that every single one of these dreams is not only valid but critical for the creation of a safe and violence-free world.
We understand that in order for them to do this important work, they need to understand and stand fully in their power. At our last retreat we explored one of the ways that they can do this by understanding their personalities, healthy patterns and unhealthy patterns. We also discussed ways that they can leverage their strengths to undo their unhealthy patterns so that they fully live into their leadership and achieve their dreams.
We used art to draw images that represent our healthy and unhealthy patterns and we made commitments to embrace the patterns that propel us more towards our dreams. We believe that the more we engage them in such activities, their leadership will be anchored in a positive self image. We are grateful for your generosity that continues to support this vision of a violence-free world.
208 Students Trained on Sexual Violence Prevention
By Trizah Gakwa | Strategic Growth Director
Our team in Zambia facilitated a sexual violence training workshop with 208 high school students at Mubuyu Christian Academy where our scholars go to school. According to CSO statistics in Zambia, 1 in every 5 adolescents and young women has been a victim of sexual violence. The absence of and weakness in structural policies in the grassroots exacerbates the the situation, as most of the times the family opts to protect perpetrators of sexual violence to maintain good standing in society and to safeguard the family's income. As a result, many cases go unreported and survivors don't get the support that they need.
The training which was led by our survivor leaders, focused on helping the students understand what consent is, what sexual violence is and how it happens and what the students can do both to prevent and to respond to it. The pre-assessment survey that was administered before the workshop showed that a majority of the students had minimal knowledge on the key issues that contribute to sexual violence like the belief that it is a man's right to have sex with a woman. They also didn't understand body autonomy and the fact that they needed to give consent before anything happened to their bodies.
It was exciting to see the post-assessment survey results that showed that most of them an increased level of understanding after the workshop. Some of them also shared personal experiences that they have had and were directed to the resources that would help them process the trauma that they had been through. By the end of the training, all the students indicated that they were better equipped to prevent sexual violence and several of them reached out for mentorship as they wanted to continue learning and growing.
Our survivor-leadership model centers the dreams of survivors for a violence-free world! We believe that survivors are the liberators that will lead us in ending sexual violence. Their stories of courage, healing, and transformation inspire and heal communities.
We realize that to achieve these dreams, survivors need safe spaces and a supportive community to facilitate their healing. In October, we hosted a retreat with our scholars where we used our Butterfly Effect Curriculum to explore two topics: The Beauty of Transformation and Healed to Heal. We talked about how experiencing inner growth and embracing our beauty and transformation moves us to do wonderful things that bring change around us.
One of the powerful tools that we use to facilitate healing is art. The scholars used tiles and t-shirts to create representations of their beauty and transformation. We are so grateful for your support that empowers these high school girls to make the changes that they desire in their communities.
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