Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Parents Meeting and First 2 Sessions of Lulu

I'm excited to say that the Lulu Mabatini program is officially launched and operational. A few weeks ago we held a meeting for parents/guardians/husbands of our participants. This kind of meeting is crucial because girls have very little say in their homes and take on the brunt of household responsibility. We wanted their caregivers to understand the goals of the program and to give their support. Otherwise, they might forbid the girls to attend or make it very difficult because they have too much work to do.

The parents, guardians and spouses of Lulu participants
Natalie speaking to the parents about Lulu.

I was really happy with the turnout and participation. Most people said that they were excited about the opportunity for their girls to learn and to better themselves and that they appreciated the work we were doing. That means they will free up some time for the girls to come!

Last Saturday we had our first session for the participants themselves. Right before starting time, the skies opened up and the rain poured down in buckets.

Despite the torrential rain, we had about 20 girls to the first meeting.
What do you expect from the rainy season?

I knew the rain would effect our numbers but more than that, I was worried because a lot of the girls come from the hills and I hoped that they weren't stuck somewhere cold and wet. However, we had 19 show up and many of them actually came early and beat the rain. (Coming early!? That's an anomaly here where everything runs late.)

Our first meeting of Lulu Mabatini
The participants introducing themselves in pairs.

Yesterday we had our second meeting and we had 25 participants. The girls were a little shy at first, but they're slowly warming up and hopefully are enjoying themselves.

The girls drawing their lives.
In an attempt to inspire some creativity, the girls had to draw/color a picture of their house and environment. Many of them were uncomfortable with coloring because they said it's for kids. But for those who did, they really loosened up and seemed to enjoy themselves.

Another cool development over the past week is that we now have a youth facilitator. Her name is Sikudhani* and she was a participant in one of the groups in another part of Mwanza and has been trained as a peer leader. She is a strong, smart, poised young woman and will be a great addition to our group!
Our youth facilitator, Sikudhani
Sikudhani is in her early 20's and is raising 2 children.

I can't wait to see how things unfold in the coming weeks as we really get into the meat of our subjects. Over the next few sessions we will talk about planning for your life, communication skills, and saving money.

*In Swahili Sikudhani means I didn't think. There are a lot of names like that here, like Shida, which means problem, or Mashaka, which means doubts. To me that's such an injustice to your child to give them a name that announces your regret at having conceived them. To be fair, though, everyone so far that I've met with a name like this doesn't seem to mind it. Still, it's something I can't get used to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So excited for you!!! Fun to read about your work!! Keep it up! -Kaiser