Lukajange: 11 October each year is an International Day of the Girl Child declared by the United Nations. The day aims to highlight and address challenges girls face, while promoting their empowerment and realization of their human rights. Karagwe Diocese is on the frontline in promoting women and girl’s empowerment through different programs. On Thursday through the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Project (AGE), KAD celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child.
In partnership with Church of Sweden, KAD implements the Adolescent Girls Empowerment Project (AGE) that is coordinated by Miss Axsa Gabagambi. The project aims at empowering young girls in Secondary Schools as they continue to face huge challenges to access their right to education, school pregnancies, school drop outs, early marriages and gender discrimination.
The event collected 100 girls from five secondary schools around Karagwe district, and brought them together at Lukajange Orphanage Vocational Training Centre. Each girl had a story to tell, each girl had potential, and each girl had a dream to bring into reality, our task was and still is to empower them.
Neema Salvatore is a form three student from Kayanga Secondary School; she has been attending AGE seminars and took an initiative to teach her fellow students who have never attended similar seminars. “We are all at risk, our fellow students are always eager to know what we have learned; I have a group of five girls that I share everything I learn with”.
Out of one hundred girls, 67 admitted that before attending AGE seminars that provide them with Sexual Reproductive Health Education, they didn’t know that they had power over their own bodies. They believed that being masculine means that one is above, superior or more worthy and that being feminine means that they are weak, less important or inferior.
The theme for International Day of the Girl Child this year is “With Her: A skilled Girl Force”, aiming at preparing girls to enter the workforce. When young girls are educated and empowered to take their rightful place in society they are less likely to experience a life of poverty and vulnerability
In his 2018 message for the International Day of the Girl Child UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said: “Today, 600 million adolescent girls are preparing to enter a world of work transformed by innovation and automation. They are the largest generation in history and a vast source of ideas and solutions for all career fields. Yet far too often, girls are not given the space and opportunities they need to achieve their full potential. Multiple barriers include systematic discrimination, biases and lack of training … On this International Day of the Girl, let us recommit to supporting every girl to develop her skills, enter the workforce on equal terms and reach her full potential. “
Madam Onike is a teacher from Karagwe Secondary school, she explained her concern that all girls are facing similar challenges, and that instead of educating a fewer number of students, the project should consider expanding and reach every girl in the entire diocese.
As a diocese, we take our role in this seriously and with great passion and are honored to be one player among many doing this phenomenal work.
Text: Axsa Gabagambi