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Prossy (19) reflects on what ‘International Day of the Girl Child’ means to her

By Prossy, Act4Africa Peer Educator

As the world celebrates International Day of the Girl Child, I count myself lucky and at the same time privileged, that am part of the Act4Africa Grow A Girl programme, which has given me the opportunity to be in school till this present day.  It is an opportunity that has shaped me into the person I am today and as well as shaping me towards my career aspirations.

I live in a community where brewing alcohol and working in the sugar plantations are the main source of livelihood for most families.  Coupled with community stereo-types regarding girl education as a waste of money and time, this greatly affected my hopes and belief in whether I would ever study further beyond primary level.

AIDS orphan, Prossy outside her one-room home, where she lives with her aunt and several siblings and cousins.

I am privileged to be in school.  This has greatly reduced my vulnerability to early pregnancy, HIV infection, and alcoholism; as is the norm for most young girls who have not gotten an opportunity like mine, or worse off, been sexually exploited and/or working under hard and harsh conditions in the nearby sugar plantations.

I feel strongly that this opportunity is driving me into a future I dreamed I would never acquire.  However, at the same time, I feel saddened by the fate of my fellow peers within my community.  They are in predicaments that have ruined their future as result of:

1) Community stereo-type that regards girls education as useless

2) The environment around them, with nearly every home having a brewery / distiller of local gin, thus exposing them to sexual advances from men that are 10 times older than their age.

Thank you Act4Africa, the sponsors of the Grow A Girl programme to everyone that is making this possible, without your support I don’t where I would be now or what I would be doing, but most important, I know I would be being robbed of the bright future that I see ahead of me.

Prossy (aged 19, Mayuge District, Uganda)

11 October marks International Day of the Girl Child: an annual initiative launched by the United Nations to support and empower young women across the globe with the theme this year focused on helping girls overcome adversity.

According to UNICEF, 600 million adolescent girls will start work in the next decade and 90 per cent of those living in developing countries will go into informal roles where abuse and exploitation are rife.

This is what the 2018 Day of the Girl Child seeks to combat under the theme: “With Her: A Skilled GirlForce”, which marks the beginning of a year-long effort to advocate female entrepreneurship and provide young women across the world with the tools they need to carve their own professional paths.  At Act4Africa we believe the best way to equip girls for the future is through education.

Act4Africa’s Grow A Girl Programme relies solely on one-off donations and individual regular givers.  If you think you can spare £25 a month to keep a girl like Prossy in education you can find out how, here.