“I miss my friends. I miss my teachers. I miss studying.”
Nansamba is fifteen years old and dreams of becoming an accountant. But for the past five months, her school has been closed and her studies placed on hold. Books have been swapped with chores. And conversations with friends about the future have been replaced with ones about worries and warnings.
“There are many problems that result from being home too long. That’s when boys and older men start disturbing you. When pregnancy and child marriage happen. I try and discourage my friends.”
In Uganda, 2 out of every 5 girls are married before they turn 18. Because of COVID-19, that number is expected to rise. Nearly 80% of the organizations that VOW supports in Uganda are already seeing an increase in child marriage as a result of the pandemic.
With schools closed, Resilient Women’s Organization (RWO) is working to provide critical services to girls during this vulnerable time. RWO offers phone-based wellbeing and support sessions. And they are conducting check-in calls with parents, encouraging their continued prioritization of girls, and sharing health and safety information.
Nansamba has been a member of RWO for a year. As a result of her participation, she has learned more about her rights and knows her worth. She is helping her friends see their futures and the possibilities, and make informed choices.
“Boys are not oxygen. Girls can live without them for now. They can be single, safe and ok. And after we complete our studies and get the right job, we can find the right man. At the right time.”
100% of the funds we raise are invested in underfunded local efforts in communities around the world that advance girls’ rights.