After almost 4 weeks in Zambia, Join Hands For Africa is proud to announce our longterm project – #Ask4More: A Women Empowerment Program.
As the title suggest, we are aiming to inspire the girls of City of Hope, who come from such difficult backgrounds, that they can achieve so much! Africa, as a continent, still suffers from severe gender discrimination and Zambia is no different. Women are expected to take care of the house and rear children. It is such an accepted way of living that most girls do not aim any higher than that. Even those lucky enough to finish their secondary education sometimes only expect themselves to get married soon after they leave school, ending all prospects of further education or even a career.
A United Nations University document proclaims that: “Women’s participation in national educational systems is again biased due to the sociocultural and economic environments. There is also a lack of genuine political will to ensure that girls are given equal access to education in Africa. More than two-thirds of Africa’s illiterates are women. Women are regarded as inferior to men and are not expected to aspire as high as men, especially in what are considered as ‘male’ fields (engineering, computing, architecture, medicine, etc.). It is largely assumed that educating women would make them too independent; in other words, they would not do what they are expected to do – look after the house, bring up children, and cater to their husband’s needs.”
In fairness, the government has been trying to eliminate gender discrimination for quite a while through different legislatures, such as promising harsh prison sentences to men who commit domestic violence. Yet, such laws fail to see the big picture. Women who do not work, who have no qualifications to find a well paying job, cannot afford to report their abusive husband because if he does get convicted, there is a big chance that her and her children will end up begging on the streets.
#Ask4More is, in essence, a 9-week program spread over a whole scholastic year for the Grade 12s, the last grade of secondary school.
– A 41-page instructor booklet, detailing every part of the program, ensuring coherent progress throughout;
– Weekly activities focusing on empowering the girls through various methods, such as entrusting them with administrative roles, etc.;
– Team-building assignments;
– Awareness of other powerful women whose endeavours changed the world as we know it;
– Talks by Zambian women who managed to forge a career even though they didn’t have an easy upbringing;
– Work placements during the holidays;
– University orientation visits, where students are given a taste of what awaits them if only they aim a little higher.
As an organisation, Join Hands For Africa shall be funding the instructors’ wages, ensuring that the program be taken seriously, as well as paying for at least two or three students’ tertiary education, depending on how much we collect from fund raisers back home.
Fingers crossed, we are hoping to be eligible for a grant from the Zambian government of ZMK30 million (~€3,500) with which we would be able to fund up to 4 different students’ university education.
Much and more still needs to be done but needless to say, we are extremely excited by our program. The change will be slow but gradual and we are positive it will be of great value to many who participate.
NB: In the coming weeks, just after Easter, we plan to announce a bank account where one can donate money specifically for this program, ensuring that more girls shall be given the opportunity of a much brighter future.
For more information, please do not hesitate to send us an email on: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Androo & Alan