Girls Learn Skills that Pay the Bills!

In Global Advocacy, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe by Fiona Ip

Young women and girls are empowered when they can stand on their own two feet in all aspects of life. Thirty Girls Act members in Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone took that stand for themselves last month when they learned income-generating skills to help gain their economic independence!

With the help of AHF partner Happy Kids, the Sierra Leone chapter launched its newest initiative – the Girls Act Social Enterprise – which empowers out-of-school girls to be economically self-sufficient through learning skills like making trendy dresses and other accessories. Their event highlighted the graduation of five new members who recently completed the training program, which plans to expand this year.

“My father died when I was young, and my mother has a serious health problem, making it difficult to provide for me and my siblings or send me back to school,” said Joyce Momoh, a new Girls Act member in Sierra Leone. “My tears are flowing because I wish my father were here today to witness my significant transition and achievement. Thank you so much, AHF, for inspiring me and changing the course of my life. I believe I can now contribute to my mother’s well-being. Always believe in yourself and embrace change—every girl out there.”

Soap making was in full swing in Zimbabwe, where 25 girls received training on making four different types of household soaps for personal use and to sell to generate income. The project helps ensure self-sustenance and change community perspectives on girls’ capabilities. The group received a starter pack to kick-start their own projects where they live!

“These initiatives that grant girls the skills they can use to create income for themselves are vital because an economically empowered girl is less likely to be sexually exploited for material benefits,” said Knowledge Nyanhungo, Linkage Coordinator at AHF Zimbabwe. “The training is also significant to AHF as it helps achieve Girls Act’s objectives to empower girls and reduce their vulnerability to HIV and other STIs.”

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