The cycle of poverty starts early for girls where it is known that between the ages of 15-24 they are at the highest risk of contracting the HIV virus. Born into poor families they are often not sent to school and the choices they have are marriage or menial labor. Adolescence is an espeically vulnerable time as girls are often tempted by the profitability of selling their bodies. By the age of 20 many of these girls have children, no husbands and sometimes AIDS. Chikumbuso seeks to break this cycle and by bringing economic empowerment back into their lives.
Once these at risk youths are identified in the community we offer life skills classes that include tailoring, health education, financial and english literacy, and most importantly a community of older respected women. The widows act as mentors, helping these girls to see the potential of their lives. While they are in class they can leave their children in Chikumbuso’s daycare center providing them with a safe place to play. Our biggest success story this year was the hiring of all of our single mothers in a local deli – they now have a stable income but most importantly a renewed sense of self.
In an effort to encompass the entire community, Chikumbuso has now reached out to 10 at risk young men to bring the same sense of empowerment into their lives.
STARY is in need of donations to help support the training center, the daycare facility, and our instructors (Mary & Rose). Click here to help!