Girls’ clubs are giving female teens a safe haven
By Semereta Sewasew, communications manager, Ethiopia
It’s important to create equal access to education for girls in Ethiopia — far too important to ignore.
So, last year Christian Children’s Fund of Canada established 18 girls’ clubs and Child Protection Committees, encouraging and empowering more than 6,200 girls at nearly 20 schools.
Samrawit is one of those girls. She’s the chair of her school’s girls’ club, but all its members are empowered to exercise their leadership skills and talk about issues affecting their lives. They work closely with the Parent Teacher Association to convince parents to send their daughters to school, among other issues.
“Consultation solves everything,” says Samrawit, an eighth-grader. “Our club is playing an important role in [breaking down] school-based and community-based barriers to girls’ education such as early marriage, gender-based violence and stereotypes limiting women in our community.”
Samrawit works with teachers to counsel her peers and their parents about the impact of harmful traditional practices. “We hold discussions [about] peer pressure and other issues that might affect the performance of girls in school,” says the teen.
Girls used to be afraid to discuss issues such as menstruation and sanitary kits, which meant many of them didn’t have supplies and couldn’t go to school during their cycle. So, Samrawit and the teachers in charge of the girls club shared in an open discussion about the issue and distributed sanitary pads.
Whatever the issue — whether menstruation or early, forced marriage — girls in Samrawit’s school are being empowered to make their own change, finish school, chase their dreams and reach their full potential.
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.