November 25th is the annual United Nations International Day to end violence against Women. To mark this event, Rose Charities and Uganda’s Talent Africa Group are launching the Brighter Smiles Africa music video ‘Tekawo Enjawulo’ (“We can make it better you and I”).
The goal of ‘Tekawo Enjawulo’ is to raise awareness and promote dialogue to help end the silence and indifference that surrounds sexual violence against girls. The song presents the perspective of Ugandan youth on the issues they face. Sexual and gender-related violence against girls is a global epidemic recognized by WHO and UNICEF to require urgent action through innovative solutions. In much of Africa, more than half the women report being victimized in their lifetime, and in Uganda one in three girls currently experience some form of sexual violence.
The words of ‘Tekawo Enjawulo’ highlight the four issues seen as most pressing by youth in Uganda. * Early child marriage and teenage pregnancies * Sexual advances from older men (transgenerational sex) * Abuse of power by teachers in schools (demands for sexual favors for favorable marks) * Undue pressure from boys for sex
The song featured in the Brighter Smiles Africa music video was recorded by a group of leading female artists and premiered as the theme song at the Brave Girls Festival in Uganda on Oct 11th (The ‘Day of the girl child’). Some of the girls who contributed words for the song were also showcased at the event which was thrilling for them. The video has been produced to combine great entertainment with elements of health promotion and will be widely available through free downloads. This means the words of the song (and the advice it contains) will be heard across Uganda, especially by young people. A promotional campaign on national TV and radio will also use broadcasts with phone in discussion hosted by leading Ugandan women to promote dialogue and raise awareness of the need for change in Ugandan society.
The Guatemalan Safe Motherhood Project continues to make progress, in spite of the pandemic. We in Canada have been in bimonthly contact via Zoom with our Guatemalan teammates. Because of travel restrictions, teaching in other communities has been replaced with a new clinic, providing prenatal care to local pregnant women and holding prenatal discussion groups, as well as addressing topics beyond pregnancy and birth, including breastfeeding, alcohol and other substance use disorders, domestic violence, nutrition, and supporting teen mothers.
Here in Canada we’ve been having a meeting every 5-6 weeks with a primary focus on trying to find corporate sponsors as well as granting foundations. Our long-term goal is to expand our training courses with more teams. We hope to be able to travel to Guatemala once again in the fall of 2022. Our team will be able to train a number of further trainers to bring our hands-on course to many more remote areas, so as to make a larger impact in fewer years. The need remains huge and more trained teams are needed in order to impact the lives of so many marginalized, poverty-stricken families (primarily indigenous) in Guatemala. With persistence, further funding will allow this.
‘Buhari’ means married women / daughters in law. This is the name that Rose Nepal gives to its advanced education program for women. It is well documented that women’s education is one of the most effective parameters in advancing communities in all areas in almost every parameter index, from health, poverty reduction, peace and Rose Nepal promotes these strongly in it Buhari program. The program operates from the rural Pharping area of the Kathmandu Valley. Notable (see image) is Sushima Thapa magar, one of the best achieving students to date from Kopu Village close to graduating in Engineering and Architecture. She will be the first female Rose-Engineering graduate from this small community.
Sponsorships in the Buhai Program and run at around CAD 600 per student per year which include both tuition (CAD 300 appx) and living / course material costs.(CAD 300 appx) It is hard to find an initiative of better value as it creates both a active, involved and hugely needed future for the student herself, as well as a panoply of secondary benefits for her family, community, region and country. Partial assistance (ie covering a proportion of the costs at any level) are equally welcomed and will be pooled by Rose to complete the amount for a full Buhari Scholarship.