Girl Support Clubs

September 15, 2020

Finding someone to confide in and to tell their most innermost thoughts to- is something most girls lack, especially those living in the informal settlements. Valvisions intends to pat the girls on their backs and say: “We believe in you and want to offer you the space and understanding to change your life for the better.”

In Africa, it is more profitable to educate the boys in the family as opposed to the girls. We have heard stories of mothers in other countries who have actually strangled newborn daughters at birth as a girl is often considered a liability rather than a value. Millions of girls the world over are subjected to abuse, child labor, traffickingchild marriage, and other offenses.

An educated girl is more likely to provide for herself and her family’s good health; she will also be better positioned to take care of her own children when they come into her life.

As the Choice Clubs have halted for now due to the closing of schools, we are forming clubs in the slum-areas in an effort to teach the girls there the need to see their worth and to love themselves deeply despite the many challenges they face. Providing a forum of love and compassion for these girls will, hopefully, help them navigate life with more ease. These girls come from communities where alcohol and drug abuse is the order of the day; they look forward to an activity that gets them away from the mundane life in the slums.

A group of 13 girls sit in a makeshift hall listening to a discussion on self-love in relationships, especially those concerning the opposite sex.

Most girls’ clubs are single-sex environments, enabling girls to meet, learn and discuss issues that affect their lives without the presence of boys, who might dominate discussions or make it harder for girls to reflect on gender inequalities. For this reason, we label these gatherings as ‘safe spaces.’

Gender norms typically assign girls a heavy burden of domestic labor, which limits the time they can spend studying, and in turn affects their progress through school and subsequent job opportunities. Gender norms also limit girls’ free movement outside the home, and their ability to socialize outside their family. As a result, many adolescent girls feel isolated and disempowered, and have limited aspirations for their future beyond imminent marriage.

Girls’ clubs are an increasingly popular approach to promoting the well-being of adolescent girls. Our club meetings hope to help girls cope with the physical and emotional changes they experience during adolescence, aiming to equip the girls with the knowledge and skills necessary to challenge discriminatory norms within their home and wider community. Typically, our interim clubs aspire to empower girls by giving them access to information about their rights (including their sexual and reproductive health). The clubs also support the girls with learning life skills, with the intent of building their self-confidence and helping them negotiate for their rights by voicing concern when situations call for discussion rather than silence. The approach seeks to broaden the girls’ horizons and to encourage them to envisage and realize a better future.

Group picture of the girls after the session- happy and excited faces.

We have formed clubs in many of the informal settlements around us. As the girls wait for schools to reopen, Valvisions is engaging these girls in activities and discussions to keep them entertained as they learn. Grace works with the community leaders to ensure there is accountability on the part of both the girls and their parents. These initiatives have been well received by the various communities; club’ numbers keep increasing.  Grace will continue to conduct these interim club sessions until the schools re-open and the Choice Clubs resume.

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