Global Grassroots 2011 Year-End Magazine - Page 41

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Global Grassroots 2011

Perseverance*

Students at Mahembe primary school (1600 students up to fifteen years of age) receive no education on reproductive health at school or at home. Access to sanitary supplies is limited, and girls who have begun to menstruate do not have a safe place to shower or change during school if needed. Many have been spied on or assaulted by male students, resulting in their decision to stay home from school one week each month. They often fall behind and drop out. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of girls (as young as 12) dropping out due to unwanted pregnancy, as many impoverished girls are also targeted by older male predators offering them material gifts and school fees in exchange for sex.

Perseverance will build safe shower facilities at the latrines for Mahembe’s female students, and will provide lessons on reproductive health and body maturation for the students, teachers, and parents. They will also hold community

A Friend Indeed*

A Friend Indeed works to combat violence against unwed single mothers and their children, who face discrimination and abuse, even from their own families. With few options for supporting themselves, many single mothers resort to sex work or begging on the streets.

A Friend Indeed formed small neighborhood associations for a total of 80 pregnant mothers and 120 illegitimate children, to help the women find sources of income. They will decrease the general stigmatization of single mothers and their children and to curb the violence they face, through community trainings and educational theater. They will also help single mothers earn income without resorting to sex work and putting themselves at risk for HIV/AIDS. Finally they will run a mentorship program meant to keep illegitimate children from falling into crime or living on the streets and to ensure that they stay in school.

This team has just completed their start-up and operational budgets, and have worked with Global Grassroots staff to finalize their plans for venture development.

discussions to promote equal educational opportunities for girls, and will hold other public meetings to encourage local men to use condoms.

Perseverance aims to decrease rates of unwanted pregnancies and to keep more female students in class, even during menstruation. Further, they will provide students and families with an understanding of body maturation and reproductive health. Ultimately, their efforts will protect girls from sexual exploitation – both in school and in the community.

photo by Laya Madsen