On December 15, 2020, we held our first Girls Dreams Lab under the 25 Girls Project. The Girls Dreams Labs activate agency and bring about girls who are aware of their environment, and can envision, design, create and defend their spaces. For the girls to be able to do that, however, they have to be healthy. So, the first session of the Girls Dreams Labs tackled body and menstruation hygiene. “I have learnt that I have to keep dry and clean during my periods so that I keep healthy,” one girl shared.
The interactive session on building agency and assisting girls envision, design and create their spaces was very inspiring. “Now I know; I know I can dream again,” one girl, carrying her two-months-old baby remarked. “I have to be confident, believe in myself and do not let anyone put me down.”
The 25 Girls Project skills 25 girls at-risk aged 15-25 years, survivors of sexual violence, former child brides and teenage mothers in a one-year education and apprenticeship program in arts and STEM fields. The girls shared their lived experiences and the support they can draw from each other and the networks we provide. “I could see radiance in the eyes of these girls, girls who had despaired for life,” said Brian Mutebi. “That’s the concept for the Girls Dreams Labs, assisting girls dream again, be healthy, equipped with skills and thrive.”
We secured partnerships with various private sector actors including the Rotary Club of Kampala, engineering companies and fashion and hairdressing enterprises to roll out the apprenticeship training. The girls are skilling in motor electrical engineering, phone repairing, photography and video editing, fashions and designing, and hair dressing.
The 25 Girls Project is a life-transforming project that integrates girls’ skills development with access to reproductive and maternal health information for better outcomes. The project is implemented marking 25 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, with support from New Life Fund managed by King Baudouin Foundation.