Experts tell us it's important to get out up out of our office chairs once and move — a stretch, a shake, get the blood flowing! At Days for Girls, we take this advice a step farther. Recently our team got up from our spreadsheets and reports and went all the way to Kyaka Refugee Settlement in western Uganda to join 1,400 teenage girls in a very lively round of dancing. Why were they dancing? To celebrate the distribution of DfG Kits and Ambassador of Women's Health training that the Ugandan team had come to deliver!
This specific community had been identified by our Enterprise Partner in Kyaka, Angel's Care, due to the high rate of teenage pregnancy and school drop outs. Refugees face heightened vulnerabilities due to varied factors. In Uganda — which has proven to be a friendly country to refugees from throughout the region — settlements are often started within rural communities. While this integration is positive for so many levels, it can also place additional burdens on local structure to support an influx in population. This, combined with the fact that many refugees have been separated from family and social networks, leaves young women and girls in particular at an increased risk of teenage pregnancy and school drop outs.
The girls — who included refugees from South Sudan, Burundi, and DRC, as well as local Ugandan girls — were thrilled to receive the colorful DfG Kits, as evidenced by the dancing, cheering, and larger-than-life smiles. Though perhaps even more encouraging for our team was the appetite for information during our Ambassador of Women’s Health training. Many of the girls had not received much of the basic information — such as stages of the menstrual cycle — during their formal schooling.
The questions continued up until the very last moment. Empowering girls with knowledge, shattering stigmas, and providing sustainable and locally appropriate menstrual health solutions are inseparable activities for DfG. At the end of the days, we want girls to be the experts in their own lives — and your support is making that possible!
Next up? Days for Girls will be celebrating World Refugee Day (June 20) with young women and girls from Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. We can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Libby Daghlian is Days for Girls International's global program operations director. This post was originally published by GlobalGiving.