On a sunny day in Tanzania, a sense of hope is evident as we meet with Pendo and Zainabu, two teenagers from our Girls’ Empowerment program. They beam as they talk about their new self-confidence and their dreams and aspirations for the future.
Girls’ Empowerment is a program in our Women’s Empowerment initiative, which brings educational programs to schools and communities in East Africa. Sessions include contextually appropriate topics such as self-esteem, gender-based violence, and harmful practices. Professionals from the community visit the schools to provide lessons in health, women’s rights, leadership, and family planning.
Pendo, Zainabu, and many of the other girls in the program are familiar with adversity, as they grew up in a place where women are not always given the same opportunities as men.
Zainabu, 14, lost her father at the age of 5 and struggled for many years with grief. She said getting involved in the Girls’ Empowerment program has made a great impact.
“I would hear other people talk about their families, and it made me miss mine” says Zainabu as her eyes start to water. “I felt so sad, but when I come here, they encourage me.”
There is a strong emphasis on the future as well. Pendo, 16, hopes to encourage and empower other girls in their community.
“I am a girl,” says Pendo proudly. “And I have a place in society.”
Pendo loves to sing and is a self-proclaimed bookworm.
Zainabu also has big dreams. She plans on becoming a lawyer someday so she can help educate others on women’s rights. When asked about advice she would give other young women, her answer was simple.
“They can do anything,” Zainabu says. “They have to be proud to be girls.”
This year, we have watched more than 1,200 girls develop this sense of pride through the Girls’ Empowerment program.
As we gather around the table this holiday season, let's consider the role we can play in advocating for kids around the world. By giving a gift through Convoy's Gift Catalog at http://convoy.org/catalog, you can feed kids nutritious meals all around the world! 🍽️