This week, we are shining a spotlight on our two Special Projects; our Girl Empowerment Project and Christine Paska. Our Special Projects are two of our smallest projects, but they are still just as important to our mission.
Our Girl Empowerment Project provides 65 secondary school girls with the items they need to stay in school, complete their education, and break out of the cycle of poverty. Girls often miss out on classes during their periods because they have no sanitary supplies to protect them while they are out and at school. Monthly menstruation means that girls will miss over 20% of class time. More than half of Ugandan girls enrolled in school will drop out before they complete primary school because of their period.
GLO is on a mission to end the cycle of poverty that children without a complete education fall into. We decided that we would provide the girls at the local school, Budongo Secondary School, with what they need to stay in school and break that cycle. To date, they have been provided school uniforms, backpacks, school supplies, and sanitary kits.
During Jolly’s most recent trip in July, she stopped in and visited our girls at Budongo Secondary school. Thanks to our friends from Simsbury United Methodist Church, the local Days for Girls chapter, and the many volunteers that came out to cut and sew, we were able to provide our girls with new, washable, sanitary pads and everything needed to use, wash, and care for them. The girls were also able to get some training from Olivia from Days for Girls University, Uganda, whose mission is to create a more dignified, free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions.
Olivia taught the girls how to properly care for and use their new kits as well as some self-defense to fight off anyone who may try and attack them. With proper care of the kits, they should last 2-4 years which should help see the girls through their complete secondary school education. The girls were thrilled about their new kits. When we visited them during our trip last fall, they asked us for help with menstrual hygiene and care. Thanks to the many volunteers who helped us make the kits and Days for Girls, we were able to provide them with exactly what they asked for.
Our other Special Project, young Christine Paska, also got a visit from Jolly during her most recent trip. During our fall trip of last year, we found out that Christine wasn’t being well fed and that some of her wounds were coming back and getting infected. We spent some time while we were there in the fall looking for boarding schools for children like Christine, where she could get an education as well as get the proper medical attention that she needs. The school that we were interested in wasn’t able accept her at the time, so we enlisted the help of one of our VHT’s, Juliet Atugonza.
For the time being, Juliet is taking care of Christine regularly, at least 6 days a week, to make healthy meals for her, clean any wounds, and take care of any other medical issues that she may be having, in order to keep her condition from getting any worse. It has been working very well.
During the most recent trip, when Jolly saw Christine, she was much healthier than she was in the fall. She was no longer malnourished and her wounds were nearly all healed.
Sadly, though, Christine is currently in the middle of a difficult situation. Her family no longer wants to take care of her as she has become too much of a burden for them. They are refusing to let her stay and she has nowhere to go. We have begged them to continue caring for her until we can find a safe place for her to go.
We are now in a rush to raise money for the sweetest little girl who has been a bright light with GLO since she became one of our first since we first met her in 2014. Our goal is to raise $2,000 for Christine so that once we find her a school; we will be able to get her in immediately with no restrictions because of money. If you would like to donate to Christine, click here.
Thank you to all of our supporters who continue to donate, volunteer, and fundraise for our mission. Because of you, we are able to travel to Uganda twice a year and keep all of our projects up and running and evolving as the years go on. We ask that you share this blog so that we can continue to raise awareness for our Special Projects, Christine Paska and our 65 girls from Budongo Secondary School. If you would like to donate, volunteer, or fundraise, please visit our Get Involved page to learn more.