We are envisioning community transformation by changing the lives of women and young girls. We want to train and equip individuals and groups of women to increase their capacity in addressing issues women and young girls face in communities these days. Our vision is to see girls and women find their identity, belonging, and purpose in God. We believe that dignity is God-given and essential to the spiritual, emotional, physical growth, and well-being of girls and women. We come alongside them in a way that impacts every area of their womanhood from their self-image to managing their menstruation is our objective.
More and more high school girls are dropping out of school because of getting pregnant or from running away from home. The risk of falling into the trap of sex trafficking is evident if girls are not careful. In November 2017, an article by the New York Times talked about 26 West African girls found floating in the Mediterranean Sea. The girls were probably victims of sex trafficking, originally picked up in southern Nigeria, held in Libya, and then sent to Italian shores in dinghies. In that same week, we heard on the televised news that the Ivorian government sent three planes to Libya to pick up the girls to bring them back.
We want to prevent girls from getting into trouble like that by empowering and encouraging them with life skills to improve their health, continue with education, and to make good choices. We also want to disciple girls who come through this training program and or these life events to find their identity, belonging, and purpose in God. We want to raise and mentor young girls to lead change in their communities through peer influence and other local initiatives.
Another problem is that most of the girls here can’t afford to buy tampons and throw-away pads when having their period. We educate and help the girls by providing them with good washable pads. This would allow them to go to school even during their period. Washable pads are also better for the environment.
The way we help solve the problem is by organizing Dignity Days where girls learn together with other girls about who they are, where they belong and what their purpose is in this world. We also recognize that girls need to know about menstrual management and hygiene. Together, we explore these topics in a safe environment. Each girl who takes part in a Dignity Days is given a gift pack of washable pads and panties to make sure that they are able to continue attending school while they have their period.
* Costs for one girl at a Dignity Day: (booklets, slips and pads) $15
* Other materials for a group of 30 girls: (balloons, rent for projector, paper, snacks) $20
* If we would do four Dignity Days a year with 30 girls, it would be: $1,880. We hope to do much more in the coming years.
COSTS FOR DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING:
We organize weekly meetings with a small group of girls to go deeper on topics like making choices, relationships, puberty, sexuality etc. and explore what the Bible has to say about the value and worth of women. Here in West Africa, it’s taboo to talk about certain female-related subjects. As a result, there is ignorance about all the topics mentioned above. This would be a once a week meeting for 12 weeks.
Cost for the material for 10 girls and 4 different groups: $200
For all this to happen we need to have facilitators trained. A facilitators training takes three days. We would like to see as many girls as possible participating in these Cherishing Dignity weeks and as many facilitators trained as possible.