At Girl Child Network, we do much of our work at the community level. We focus on empowering change agents to make their own communities places where girls and boys have opportunities to succeed. But some girls need even more support. That’s where our sponsorship program comes in.
Some communities in Kenya practice female genital mutilation (FGM), a traditional ceremony in which a girl’s clitoris (and sometimes other parts of her vagina) are removed. The procedure can cause severe bleeding and infection, and can complicate childbirth. After undergoing FGM, girls are considered ready to be married, although they are often as young as 11 or 12.
Even after we work with parents and community leaders to try to prevent FGM and child marriages, we find that some girls are still in danger of being circumcised or married. In those cases, we work with sympathetic family and community members to place the girls in schools where they will be safe and protected.
Since schools were getting ready to close for the term, we went to visit the girls to see how they were doing and to wish them well on their exams.
Our Executive Director, Mercy Musomi, stood with the Head Teacher and greeted all the girls in the school. Even though not all of them are sponsored through Girl Child Network, we wanted to make sure everyone heard some encouraging words before exams started!
Mercy took a few minutes to encourage the girls to study hard and to keep their priorities in order. They lit up when we reminded them that they are the future of Kenya, and that they have the power to make the country a place with more opportunities for everyone!
And then the ceremony began! We passed out “success cards”—and hugs and handshakes– to each class of students.
We also left them with something helpful…
And something sweet!
We’re thankful to be a part of so many girls having the opportunity to just be girls again. Instead of young wives, they’re able to be young scholars!