“The girls’ worst enemies are poverty and prejudice”

Star for Life’s Secretary General, Ulrika Norberg, tells us about the project Daughters of Africa where the focus is on young women.

Get a job. Start your own company. Rent an apartment. Take out a loan. Buy a house. Marry. Have children.
It’s about decisions – and about freedom of choice. About the right to control your own life and be able to say yes or no. A given for most of us in privileged parts of the world, but an unattainable dream for many of our fellow sisters.

Change begins with children. We at Star for Life work with some of the world’s most vulnerable girls whose worst enemies are poverty and prejudice. They suffer from violence, unwanted pregnancies, sexual exploitation. On top of all this comes the loss of hope, of not being able to believe in a better future.

– When girls drop out of school because they get pregnant, it is more difficult for them to get a job later, says Christine Joao, who works for Star for Life Namibia, in the film below.

In Daughters of Africa, a project that we run together with Hand in Hand and which is financed by the Postcode Lottery, girls are in focus. In various workshops, they explore issues around health, sexuality, equality and entrepreneurship, which in turn means completely new insights and knowledge.

And that is also Star for Life’s aim: to motivate and inspire children and young people – girls as well as boys – to stand up for themselves. Our coaches give learners the mental tools needed to formulate goals and think ahead. When they can do this they realise that, if you invest in school and try to live a healthy lifestyle, the greater your opportunities are. Doors open to further education or work which, in the long run, means financial independence.

We know that our methodology works. In Star for Life schools, the grades are better and the learners have greater awareness of their own health. Goals and dreams become more achievable – regardless of gender. Or as Ntombeko, one of many girls participating in Daughters of Africa says:
– My biggest dream is to start a company. If men can, why shouldn’t I?

More about the project in this FILM:

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