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Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty

by UMOJA PARTNERSHIP, INC.
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Equip rural Kenyan girls to GET UP out of poverty
Beldine Kephas
Beldine Kephas

The GET UP program consists of two significant parts. During class six through class eight (GET UP JR) girls attend two sessions every term to learn about health, relationships, communication, self-esteem, and so much more. Once our Umoja students get to secondary school (high school), GET UP SR meets twice a year for a one-day conference and a three-day retreat. Topics during this time include a session on sexual health. Pictured above is Beldine Kephas, who always did the talk in this topic area. Girls in both programs receive sanitary towels, so that they don't have to miss school during their menstrual cycle.

The GET UP program has made a significant difference in the lives of the "girl-child" in our project. Since we started this program, we see girls finishing primary school, achieving high marks on the end of school exams (KCPE), qualifying for secondary school scholarships, and even going on to post-secondary education. The teen pregnancy rate has dropped by 80% in our population.

Special thanks to Beldine for her energetic and engaging talks about difficult topics. Recently, Beldine moved out of our project area. She will be missed greatly by our girls and our GET UP mentors. ASANTE SANA!

Your donation supports our girls empowerment program in Kenya, which is making a difference in 700 lives each year. 

GET UP Jr at Bar Union cluster
GET UP Jr at Bar Union cluster
Sharon and Linda Olasya, Deputy Director of Umoja
Sharon and Linda Olasya, Deputy Director of Umoja

Meet Sharon!

Sharon has been a recipient of the Umoja Project since class 5 primary school. She has received school lunch, uniforms, a blanket, a lamp to study, secondary tuition, a job as a project assistant, and now tuition for her Survey program at Ramogi Institute of Advanced Technology in Kisumu. Sharon lost her father in class 3 and as her mother struggle to care for the family, her Aunt was able to take her in so that she attend an Umoja Project school. Sharon says, if not for Umoja Project she would have ended up on the streets.

During my January 2019 visit to the project, I had the opportunity to sit with Sharon and evaluate her progreess in her program. She shared her gratitude for the project and her desire to give back to the community that has given her so much hope. She credits Umoja Project for "molding her into an important person." This December she joined with other Umoja Project Alumni to donate money to provide secondary scholarships for up to two students. She is proud that she is giving back to an organization that has given her so much.

When I asked her what she would like to share with younger students her face lit up when she talked about the GET Up program. Clearly it has made an important impact on her. She hopes to become a GET UP Mentor so she can share the lessons she learned in the program "to focus on the future". Watch the video of Sharon.

Sharon and Denise chat about Umoja Project
Sharon and Denise chat about Umoja Project

Links:

Mawego girls with Leonard, staff and Faith,teacher
Mawego girls with Leonard, staff and Faith,teacher

Each year since 2012, Global Interfaith Partnership’s Umoja Project has provided the Girls Empowerment Team of the Umoja Project (GET UP).  GET UP was born to help bridge the gap between male and female students in the Umoja Project and to offset the cultural challenges of a girl child growing up in rural Kenya.

The GET UP program teaches girls about relationships, dealing with peer pressure, caring for her body, healthy habits, managing menstruation, self-worth, the value of education, career planning and more. Most importantly, it gives these girls from 5thgrade through college a safe place to discuss the issues and concerns of their life. Mentors and counselors can provide the caring support in place of the parents that they have lost. The GET Up program is divided into two groups GET UP JR for Class 5-8 (middle school age) and GET UP SR for Form 1-4 (high school) and university students. The content of the lessons and level is age and level appropriate. The program also uses alumni from the Umoja project as lecturers and mentors so that the girls can be inspired and find hope in seeing someone who grew up in a similar situation and have now finished university training. During my June visit, I was able to view a Kenyan nurse give a talk about sexual health and it was truly the best talk I have ever seen on the subject. She made the audience laugh without detracting from the seriousness of reproductive health. All the teachers and mentors in the project are Kenyan.

Since the program began in 2012, we have seen girls finish school at a higher rate, increased performance on end of primary school KCPE exams, and drastically lowered pregnancy rate. The Umoja Project used to have 2-5 students get pregnant and drop out of school every year. There has only been 2 in the last 5 years.

Our students in Kenya are working hard to complete their education in spite of ongoing challenges. Umoja students have lost one or both parents and often care for younger siblings or ailing relatives. Most lack basic necessities, such as food, clothing and hygiene products. Yet, they are often top performers at school. In 2017 at Marera Primary school, for example, there are four  Umoja Project students in the top six: the position one and three for the boys and positions 2 and 3 for the girls.These students cite the support of Umoja Project for giving them hope and encouragement through difficult times. The girls say the GET UP program gave them the extra support they needed to compete against the boys.

Here are some quotes from Mawego Girls School’s Umoja scholars related to the GET UP program:

Anytime you step out you never know whom you are going to meet. It may be an old friend. It may be someone you are going to marry or a stranger who is going to change your life in an unexpected way. I stepped out and met Umoja and GET UP really changed my life  - Annette, Form 4

 

To obey us better than sacrifice. It is through obedience that GET Up has instilled in us the we have reached this far.  – Candy, Form 4

 

Light comes to the task when many share in that task. – Melvin, Form 4 

 

GET Up provides the light so that we may tread carefully into the unknown. -Monica, Form 4

 

Thanks to our Global Giving donors, Sunrise Book Club, and St. Luke's afternoon book club we are able to continue to offer this most valueable program.

 

GET UP Junior - June 2018
GET UP Junior - June 2018

Every summer interns from Duke Divinity school visit the Umoja Project and work in the project for 6 weeks. Courtney Sanford loved the experience so much in 2017 that she came back for a second summer in 2018. During her visit she got to experience both the Get UP Jr and Sr Programs in the first week of her stay. Below is a letter telling us about that very first week:

The day after I arrived, I went to Saint George’s Sianda Primary School. I was joined by a group from  North United Methodist in Indianapolis. We did a home visit and met the staff of the school which is supported by Umoja Project.

Thursday we spent the day with the high school girls at their day-long retreat. It was great to see some of the project assistants that I spent so much time with last year at this event. The ladies heard from teachers, nurses, and lawyers about study habits, reproductive health, decision making, and their rights.

Friday we spent the day at Ogada Primary school. I visited a girl named Margaret who was in 7th grade. She was in position one in her class with 368 marks. The average is 250 which means she will hopefully have a good chance of being be sponsored by Umoja in high school. It is moments like these that I am proud to be working with the project.

Saturday, we attended Junior GET UP which is for the middle school girls. The room was completely full as the girls sang, learned about healthy relationships, and learned about love.

A few days ago we were walking home from school and next door neighbor’s children greeted us. They disappeared and came running back with roasted maize. They probably didn’t have much, but they showed us radical hospitality by sharing what they did have. The next day, they disappeared again and came running with roasted maize and a mango. I wanted to cry because the children were so generous and giving. The people of Kenya continue to teach us about love and hospitality. We are thankful to be here and thankful for your love and support.

Love,

Courtney 

Interns, North United Methodist Group, and alumni
Interns, North United Methodist Group, and alumni
Get Up Junior
Get Up Junior

Girl Child

This poem by a young student illustrates the frustration and challenges many young girls face. Our GET UP program gives students like Agnes hope and wings to soar to their full potential.

 

GIRL CHILD

I'm just a girl child

It sounds so good

But oh no

 

To my mother

     a house help

To my father

     a source of income

To my teachers

     a school wheelbarrow

To my fellow students especially boys

     a beautiful flower to be admired

And to the sugar daddies

     a juicy fruit to be eaten raw.

 

It all started before I was born

When my mother was given a very harsh warning:

make sure that you give birth

to a baby boy.

 

Little attention was paid to me.

My mother makes me work at home

as my brothers are learning.

I wash clothes, cook, gather firewood, clean

and scrub the floor.

 

When it was time for going to school

I rejoiced thinking that it was the end of my suffering, but ush!

I was mistaken

To my parents a girl's place is just by the kitchen.

 

I thought marriage life was the bed of rose and honey, but ush!

Dear Papa

I want to go to school.

I have some feelings for my education, dad.

But does he really care?

Does he care for my suffering?

Girls want change!

 

                                                by Agnes 

                                                Student in Chulaimbo, Kenya

Nelly our fabulous guest speaker
Nelly our fabulous guest speaker

Links:

 

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Organization Information

UMOJA PARTNERSHIP, INC.

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Umoja Partnership
Indianapolis, Indiana United States
$41,232 raised of $62,500 goal
 
1,441 donations
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