Breaking the Silence
This is a story about a 13-year-old girl named Jessica (not her real name) who participated in the Binti Yetu program in 2021. The program's goal is to create a safe space for school-aged girls to ask questions about puberty, their rights, and their sexual reproductive health so they can feel empowered in their bodies.
Through the Binti Yetu program, Jessica gained confidence and began sharing her life experiences regarding puberty, menstruation, and women and children's rights. She took the initiative to participate in parent meetings at schools to educate parents about girls' rights. Her ambition led to interviews with several radio stations and newspapers, where she discussed these important topics.
Jessica's courage was met with appreciation from her teachers, who were happy to see her break the barriers and raise awareness about these subjects. Her efforts also helped reduce the shame and taboos associated with discussing these topics. At the school meetings, parents felt a sense of shame for their lack of knowledge about menstruation but were grateful to learn from Jessica. She emphasized the need for parents to have closer relationships with their daughters, bridging the gap in understanding.
In a community where girls are often expected to be shy, obedient, and quiet, Jessica's confidence and courage were exceptional. Simbas Footprints established the Binti Yetu program to empower and engage girls and women, building confidence, leadership, and encouraging their voices to be heard. Jessica is a shining example of the program's success, and she now encourages others to speak up and share their challenges, saying,"Girls, wake up! You need to speak for yourself, because if you don't speak, no one can speak for you."