Educate | Support | Protect
Florence Talemwa, a Ugandan mother and secretary of Trinity Primary School, Kampala, started The Girl-Child Project in 2014. She began supporting young women and girls after reflecting on the hard experiences she went through whilst young and in school; she recognised the needs of girls who suffer during their menstruation period, and identified those who were most vulnerable in her local schools and communities, and determined to make a difference in their lives.
She soon became unable to deal with the big demand put on her, so she requested help from members of the WAIT Uganda team and IRFF volunteers. IRFF UK began to support this work in 2014 through providing many sanitary pads and pain killers for the girls, as well as a limited amount of funding for transportation. The volunteers do their best to meet the many challenges put in front of them: travelling long distances, fulfilling invitations to visit communities and schools, as well as prisons, giving support where the greatest need has been identified (often by the local health departments). By providing teenage girls with sanitary pads, underwear, pain killers and educating them on personal hygiene, many girls’ lives are transformed. However, the need is so great that sometimes these efforts seem very small compared with the enormity of the problem.
Florence explains that more support is needed to expand the work to reach more vulnerable girls, because:
- “Girls do face a problem of headache and stomach pains during their periods since their parents cannot afford to buy painkillers.”
- “During their periods, girls miss studies during school time because they lack sanitary pads that can help them get through the day safely, without accidents.”
- “Also, many girls are desperate and are tempted by the gifts that men offer them in exchange for sex, which can lead to them dropping out of school, contracting the HIV virus or becoming pregnant whilst still in school.”
- “Girls use unhealthy pads during their menstruation period - like rags, toilet paper, cotton, old clothes, etc. which result in them catching diseases and dangerous infections.”
IRFF Uganda will support this project by providing the use of a community centre and vehicle on a yearly basis in order for the project to manufacture reusable sanitary pads, put together a pack of essentials, and make 24 trips to rural areas of Uganda, reaching out to at least 2,000 teenage girls each year.
IRFF UK and WAIT Uganda already reaches out to young women and girls in rural areas of Uganda. This work can only expand with your help – by multiplying the effort already carried out – both by increasing the number of trips made and reaching out to many more people, but also by being accessible to numerous young women in the Kampala area.