“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 the 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.
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 the needs of young adolescent girls, and provides a choice to the girls and their families. The process begins with a family meeting and community consultation to understand the reality of each situation, and then, where needed, to offer counselling and support. If a girl 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 learning program that will help them continue to explore educational activities.
In 2022, seventeen girls participated in the GIRL CARE program. For some, it offered a safe place to stay after attending PASS and waiting for allocation to secondary school in January. For other girls, it provided a positive, nourishing and supportive environment during school breaks, while others stayed in the program while they waited for the results of the Form IV national exam.
“When I am at home, it is very difficult. People in my community are not familiar with education. It is not safe for me. I like the Girl Care program because I can study, play with other girls and share ideas. I will stay here until I finish my studies.”
(Martha, age 15)
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.