Valeria is an AfriKids’ field officer. She is working to bring an end to child marriage across northern Ghana and she’s doing that by educating teenagers, girls and boys, about their sexual and reproductive health and rights. She also facilitates workshops in the wider community to provide education for older community members on this topic.
Here, Valeria talks about the benefits of the clubs she has helped to set up in schools across the area. These are after-school clubs that teach children about various topics including their rights through fun activities with their friends. They are also told where to seek healthcare and they are mentored by their teachers.
‘The club builds the confidence of the girls and the boys, it builds their confidence to speak out especially when their rights are being trampled on.'
You know most of them could be going through various challenges both at home and even in the school and they could just keep it to themselves. They will just stop going to school, but through the club, most of them have become confident and they are able to report such cases because they have that trust in their teacher mentor.
Then there is also discussion on their health rights, some have even made friends who are now helping them in their education. Most of our girls now stay in school because through the class, we give them sanitary pads. Sometimes some of the girls don’t come to school as they feel they maybe have stains on their clothes and that they will be made fun of, so we give them sanitary pads and they become more comfortable in the classroom.
During those periods, you find that most of the girls stay in class instead of being at home and now they even understand the consequences of early sex, because many of their colleagues are now peer mentors who have gone through hardship related to teenage pregnancy. They are able to speak out about their experience so it prevents them from doing the same.
If they are able to stay more in school and learn, eventually they will go far. They are able to go far because they are confident now.’
You can support field officers, like Valeria, to ensure more children complete their education and have their time to shine. Give before 4 March 2019 and all public donations to AfriKids’ Time to Shine appeal will be doubled by the UK government. So there’s never been a better time to give.
Support now: www.afrikids.org/shine
AfriKids UK Head Office:
AfriKids, Unit G05,
The Record Hall,
16-16A Baldwin's Gardens,
AfriKids Ghana Head Office:
PO Box 166
Upper East Region
Registered charity in England and Wales: 1141028
Registered NGO in Ghana: DSW/3024
Registered in The Netherlands. Tax no: 8238.13.289