Teenage girls in Kenyan slums are at a greater risk of being exploited, sexually abused and contracting HIV than other groups of society. Rape affects one in three Kenyan women and girls1, teenage pregnancies are high, and 60 per cent of women will be a single mother by the age of 45 years2.
Sexual abuse is rampant and yet teaching or talking about sex is shrouded in shame and secrecy. Young girls are often targets of sexual violence, and their identities are wrapped up in being a wife, mother and how physically attractive they are to the opposite sex.
Our recently started Girls Saturday Club is teaching young teenage girls on their God-given identity, sexuality, purity and self-esteem. We discuss real life issues, learn new skills (including music, drama, jewellery making) and form friendships where we can share our struggles and receive healing. Shame is being removed, and hidden sin is coming out into the light. Girls are growing in confidence and learning they have much more to offer than just their bodies. They are dreaming bigger dreams.
By Angela Stephens
Ministry leader equipping church leaders and members.
1. ‘Violence against Children in Kenya: Findings from a 2010 National Survey’, Unichef. Click to view.
2. ‘More women become single mothers as men abandon family roles’, by Kenfrey Kiberenge, Daily Nation, 17 August 2013. Click to view.