Brandy Yagelniski, one of our Canadian interns, organized and facilitated a workshop and celebration for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2017. NSCRC invited three female secondary students and 1 female teacher from five different schools; Buwenge High School, St. Mary’s College, St. Gonzaga Gonza, Pilkington College, and Nyanza International High School.The workshop began with an introductory activity designed to show the girls how they are all connected, but the only way to discover that is by talking to each other. Afterwards, they explored what International Women’s Day is and what it means to each of them. They continued their discussion based activities with tackling gender equality (including gender stereotypes, roles and norms) and how culture and society heavily influence expectations of how females “should” behave. The girls had brilliant ideas as to how they can conquer gender inequality through forming clubs, holding assemblies at school, and advocating at a political level. They took a short break to colour, eat popcorn, drink juice, and socialize.
After a much deserved recess,
they reconvened to learn self defense instructed by Country Wing Group Martial
Arts. Peter Wamala and Master Wong provided the girls with invaluable insight
into personal and environmental safety and awareness. After reiterating that
fighting is a last resort option, they taught the girls life saving moves.
AFRIpads matched Brandy Yagelniski’s purchase of 10 deluxe menstrual kits by donating 10 deluxe menstrual kits so each female received 12 months worth of sanitary pads. Menstruation is a common barrier for many girls attending school regularly; painful symptoms, reoccurring infections (utilizing unhygienic means to manage their monthly cycle), and fear of embarrassment (leaks). According to UNICEF, “1 out of 10 African schoolgirls skips school or drops out of school entirely due to a lack of menstrual products and poor access to proper sanitation”. To further emphasize that, missing 4-5 school days each month tallies up to 20% of the academic year. Tackling this issue on a large scale will take a lot of innovation and financial support, but it all begins with a conversation. As a group, they shared their own experience with managing menstrual cycles and ways to stay healthy and happy while menstruating. The day concluded shortly afterwards with a review of the day’s activities and what they learned. NSCRC would like to acknowledge AFRIpad for their generous donation and Country Wing Group Martial Arts for teaching the girls how to protect themselves. Lastly, thank you to Brandy Yagelniski for organizing, funding, and facilitating the workshop.