Graduation Day for Binti Pamoja Girls September 22, 2011  by      

By Kibera World Wide member Florence Nthamba

This year’s graduation of Binti Pamoja leaders was Saturday, September 3rd.

Their laughter, teasing and excitement felt like a ray of sunshine on a rather mild Saturday. It was the first welcoming sound that I heard when I reached the rather expansive compound. The landscape was really eye-catching and quiet different from the dirt paths of Kibera. The grass was green and trimmed and the fruit trees were beautiful as there leaves ruffled in the wind.

The Binti Pamoja (Daughters United) girls strode all over the compound in small groups finishing their work from the training they had undertaken. The purpose of the training was to develop 11-18 year old girls into confident leaders. The program provides a forum for young adolescent girls in Kibera to express themselves through drama, dancing and writing about what affects them most (i.e. rape, gender based violence, HIV&AIDS, among others). It comes as no surprise that CFK’s staff of the program hope to see the girls transform into mentors who will all start and lead their own group of fifteen girls, whom they recruit from the community to join the program.

‘’We’ve had this kind of training annually since the program believes in empowering and mentoring the girl-child.  We foster them to make them leaders through an intense three year training on leadership, reproductive health, life skills and financial literacy. Our hope as a program is to make them role models for the young girls whom they are going to mentor from the community” Sarah Waithera, the Binti Pamoja Program Officer tells me.

You might find yourself asking, ‘’How does this work?’’ A knowing smile plays on her lips, Sarah tries to fill me in, ‘’It is really simple. The girls this time are aged 11-18 years. We encourage them to recruit girls from the community who are younger than them for mentoring purposes. Since we have shown them how to come up with a work plan, but they have their work cut out for them. They must teach and impart the knowledge they  acquired when they went through the various trainings during their time in Binti Pamoja’’

I hope you do not get the impression that it was all learning and no fun. Sitting amongst the girls as they shared their experiences, was really entertaining. ‘’I really had a good time. Imagine sleeping in a six poster bed and waking up to a hot shower – considering the fact that I had never seen a shower before this day!’’ said Jackline, one of the graduates, leaving all the girls in stitches. ‘’For me, I really had a good time in making new friends and getting to learn new things that I am going to teach the young girls I am to recruit in my group’’ said another graduate, Diana, with excitement.

I was lucky to see some of their talents and have fun with them. Apart from the jokes they told, some of the girls like to sing like pop stars (well, not exactly) and other showed off their modeling and rapping talents.

‘‘Yes!’’ I imagined some of the girls saying as they did a mental check with themselves. Just imagine yourself in their shoes. Three years ago, coming into program as a girl with no responsibilities and now having the opportunity to pass on the knowledge they gained during their time in Binti Pamoja. I don’t know about you, but if I were in their place, I would be ecstatic.

 

 

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