The need in Uganda is overwhelming, every meeting every conversation with staff, women leaders, counselors, and village leaders during my visit all revolved around the same need. Women and the girl child need our help!
Girls are still being sold by their families for bride prices, girls are still being sold into prostitution for income. They become pregnant and have no skills or training they sell their body to feed their children risking becoming infected with STDs, HIV, and more pregnancies and the cycle of poverty continues.
Bakka is filled with too many girls who are victims of traditions and customs of tribes and cultures that should have ended long before now. Witch Doctors prescribe virgin marriage to cure aids, virgin blood to cure chronic illnesses. There are more witch doctor shrines in Bakka than churches. Witch doctors run out of other villages are welcomed in Bakka. Polygamy is a common practice in Bakka many men have several wives and more children than they can count!
Kisoboka started the work of empowering change by teaching the students about their Human Rights. The students were never aware they had rights. They were not aware tribal customs and traditions they have been taught since birth are a violation of their rights.
During the session, the students were provided information on how to receive help if their rights were being violated. We provided safe pathways for them to report if they were being violated. 72 students responded right away and more are still coming in. We are in the process of reviewing all the cases. The cases we’ve reviewed so far are heartbreaking. Incest, prostitution, the abuse of power for sexual favor. abandonment, orphaned, and early marriage for the bride price. This list represents the cases we have reviewed so far. We have empowered our students to speak out, their voices are heard and action is being taken, including staff being put on immediate leave while cases are being reviewed. ZERO tolerance is our stand. We are battelling traditions and customs that are passed down, girls are taught and trained what their role is by their grandmothers, mother, and aunties. The family and community they love, trust, and admire, breaking tradition and changing a culture takes support, action, and evidence. We are working to earn their trust that there are better safer options for them now and in their future.