“I fear that my father will marry me off if I go home. I do not understand why he wants this for me but I know that it is true. When I talk with him on the telephone, he tells me to come home, that he wants to see me. But I know that it is not safe for me at home.” (Ngaaya, age 17)
This is the reality for some of the girls in Longido.
In 2019, TEMBO launched a new GIRL CARE Program (Kujali Kwa Wasichana) to address this reality. While some families push for their girls to get an education, other families hold on to deep cultural traditions that support early marriage and pregnancy for girls as young as 14 or 15. In Tanzania, the reality is that if a girl becomes pregnant or married, she loses her right to continue with education at government schools.
As well, for some TEMBO-sponsored girls, poverty is another very real challenge. At the age of 12 or 13, girls may be forced into labour to find money to buy food for the home.
GIRL CARE recognizes these multiple needs of young adolescent girls, and provides a choice to the girls and their families. The process begins with counselling and community consultation to understand the reality of each family situation, and then, where needed, to offer counselling and support. If a girl at risk chooses to participate in the program, she will stay in the TEMBO Girls’ Hostel before, during and/or after the school year. A team of matrons, cooks and teachers ensures that the girls are actively involved in a skills development and education program that will help them continue to explore educational activities.
In December 2019, sixteen girls participated in the GIRLS CARE program. It is a safe place where they continue their studies after PASS while waiting for allocation to secondary school in January. GIRL CARE provides a positive, nourishing and supportive environment, and a opportunity to develop computer and basic tailoring skills while they wait for the results of the Form IV national exam.
Your generosity can help provide a girl with care during a long school break, a toiletry kit for each girl or three meals a day for the girls in care.