Improving Basic Human Rights for Girl Refugees In Africa

Beth Heckel
Posted October 31, 2009 from United States
Aimee Heckel, Think Humanity board member, at the girls' hostel. We donated sanitary products and she was taking down their thank you quotes. Girls were very happy and appreciative.
Aimee Heckel, Think Humanity board member, at the girls' hostel. We donated sanitary products and she was taking down their thank you quotes. Girls were very happy and appreciative.
Aimee Heckel, Think Humanity board member, at the girls' hostel. We donated sanitary products and she was taking down their thank you quotes. Girls were very happy and appreciative. (1/2)

Improving Basic Human Rights: Education is a luxury for young girl refugees in the Kyangwali Settlement Camp in western Uganda. In the camp there is no form of education for students after primary seven, so if a child wishes to continue on they must travel 50 miles to the nearest city to attend school. Settlement camps are usually isolated so that it is very difficult for refugees to be able to advance or to become a part of society. Rarely, if at all, can they even afford the $12 roundtrip in and out of the refugee camp. The hostel project for girls was formed so that refugees could get an education with Ugandan nationals where they can learn English and get a quality education. Think Humanity is providing refugee girls with education, rent, food, transportation and medication; therefore encouraging advancement, empowerment, confidence, self-reliance and roles in leadership positions. Through education, it will change the culture's misconception that women are inferior to men. Our girls have been able to recognize their rights and freedoms within the African society and thereby eventually advancing women and ending gender bias and discrimination. Some of the activities that these girls are involved in are sports. They run as a group every Saturday morning. They do community work such as visiting orphans and people with HIV/AIDS. Our girls wash clothing and take them food. They visit hospitals to comfort others. They use drama, debate and acting as a way to teach, train and educate about issues such as HIV/AIDS and the importance of educational roles for women. All girl students must attend school. They have a strict schedule which requires them to study every night between 7:30-10:30. They get up at 4:30 a.m. to study before school and eat breakfast. They go to school at 7:00 a.m. Every Saturday the girls have to clean their bedding, clothing and uniforms. They have chapel every evening after supper between 6:30 and 7:30. It is required to attend all activities. All girls are either refugees or orphans. All are vulnerables, or people who do not have basic needs. Most are Congolese refugees from the North Kivu area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Each girl has to do volunteerism in their community and/or church and each has a chore at the hostel. Girls must volunteer on their school breaks by digging (farming) so that they can raise a small portion of their school fees, uniforms and/or transportation fees. Also volunteering at one of the self-sustainable projects in the camp is encouraged.

The objective is to give girl refugees the basic right to receive an education and changing the cultures misconception that women are inferior to men. By educating girls they will not be purchased and sold. This is due to extreme poverty and desperation. Education will change the lives of girl refugees who have in the past only married, had children and labored hard by digging/farming. Our goal is to help our girls so that they will become more self-reliant, have financial stability and therefore it will advance their roles in leadership positions in the African culture. These girls will attend the best schools in the district.

Think Humanity wants to make the world aware of the lack of basic rights and needs for refugee girls in Africa. Be informed. People are suffering all over the world. Let's help each other out by sharing our resources and by volunteerism. We are all one global community.

Comments 3

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kelsperry
Oct 31, 2009
Oct 31, 2009

This is so wonderful what you're doing! I've done a lot of research on the effects of female literacy on health, the community, etc., and you're showing it firsthand through your work with these girls! I really admire you for your diligent and effective intervention here. Kels

Beth Heckel
Oct 31, 2009
Oct 31, 2009

Thanks I really appreciate that.

Jade Frank
Nov 03, 2009
Nov 03, 2009

I agree with Kels, the work that you are doing is so important. I love the idea of providing a hostel for young women of refugee camps in bigger cities so that they have the opportunity to study and become a part of society. And by giving back to their communities, they are completing the circle of empowerment. Wonderful! I hope you will continue to share the important work that Think Humanity is doing in Uganda.

Warm regards, Jade