This week and past weekend, I’ve been to the safe spaces with Janepher, the director of Sisterhood for Change (SFC). It’s great to see how the safe spaces have grown. The safe spaces are about 30 in number and they are located throughout Kisumu. The safe spaces are split by age group, 10-14 and 15-19yrs old. Each safe space has a mentor who trains the young girls on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, money management, life skills ranging from hygiene to knowing one’s rights and much more.
The growth we have seen is that many more young women and girls are joining the safe spaces. This is due to how the mentor is approaching the girls by making sure they keep the safe spaces separate by age, therefore allowing the girls to feel more comfortable and relate to one another. Also, when going to the safe spaces we noticed that many of the girls brought friends with them which is asked of them after every safe space. This guarantees growth in the safe space number and support for each other and it’s just great to see that the young girls are sharing info or inviting their friends, relatives, and more to the safe spaces. This shows how involved and excited they are to be in the safe spaces.
When going to the safe spaces, we are documenting that they (the mentors) are doing their duties. Also, to see how many girls are present and if there is an increase or decrease. Not only do we document the mentors but the young girls as well, to make sure they are taking in the information they are learning from their mentor. Upon visiting we will ask the group what are they learning that day, and if we are there near the end we ask in more details, for example, “What is one way to save?” “Where is a safe place to put your money?” And sometimes we’ll even ask them to recite a poem or perform a dance they created or learned; through this we can sometimes see who has built up their self-esteem and more.
The safe spaces are always fun to go to and talk to the girls, and see how they are so ready to learn and share their experiences freely.
Kamari Harrington ’15