With your help Watoto has been keeping girls like Sarah and Lucky in school.
Statistics show that at least 50% of adolescent girls in rural areas in Uganda drop out of school because of a lack of access to sanitary towels and other hygiene products, among others.
Watoto’s Keep a Girl in School aims to reduce the primary school dropout rate and increase primary school exam completion among these adolescent girls in our communities. This is achieved through the provision of sanitary towels and hygiene supplies along with education in life skills and character development.
In 2012, we started off in 2 rural schools in northern Uganda and in 1 year saw 100% exam completion of the girls in these schools. 5 years later in 2018, we’re working with 30 schools.
“I look for my own school fees and money to buy other school requirements. This means that things like sanitary towels are a luxury that I cannot afford. I am glad that Watoto thought about us and started this program that provides us with good quality pads and underwear. The money that I was using to buy the sanitary towels is now used to help me buy school supplies. I can focus a little better on my studies because I have less to worry about,” said 13-year-old Sarah.
5,913 girls are being kept in school currently as our Watoto Neighbourhood team have distributed more than 350,000 sanitary pads and underwear this year. Monthly discipleship and mentoring reminds each girl that she is precious and that Jesus has a beautiful plan and purpose for her life.
“Before Watoto came to help girls in Bungatira Primary School, there was high dropout rate of girls every month. As teachers we noticed, but we could not do much about it. With Keep a Girl in School, this has changed. The girls are able to attend school throughout the year without any interruption. We have seen a growing confidence in them, and their scholastic performance has greatly improved,” said Lucy Achirochan, Senior Teacher.
In addition, Watoto is educating boys in these partner schools, as well as the greater community about the benefits of educating girls. Many of the schools have reported that the workshops with the boys have helped to change their perception and that they have become more supportive of the girls in this regard.
10-year-old Johnson said, “I am so happy for the girls in my school and grateful to Watoto for what they are doing for them. My sister had to drop out of school because our parents could not afford to buy her sanitary pads. She was regularly bullied by the boys at school and eventually decided to quit.”
The discipleship program has helped the girls understand their identity and value in Christ. This has further boosted their morale. As, result, many of them are dreaming of a life beyond primary school.
“The discipleship classes have helped us learn more about God and also how to pray. I have learnt self-control and now I am glad to say that I am confident and can resist temptations unlike before. I know that I am a child of God and will no longer engage in prostitution to get money to buy the basics that I need,” shared Lucky.
There are thousands of other girls like Sarah and Lucky, who are dropping out of school and resorting to child-marriage, prostitution and other unthinkable things in order to make a living in Uganda. With your help, we are reaching them before this happens.