You may wonder, why girls?

Jenna's Girls in Uganda focuses on the girl child. But why not the boys?! We get this question all the time. Nearly 50% of Uganda’s population is under the age of 15, which means slightly more than 25% of Uganda’s population is girls under the age of 15. In empowering girls, we strive not to be better than boys, but rather we strive to be equal. With the Jenna's Girls project, we are not aiming to only empower individuals solely, we are aiming to uplift a nation. If 25% of the future population were to have the opportunity to be educated, the country would begin to thrive economically and socially. This is not just for them. This is for everyone. 

A young girl in Uganda 
  • In many countries like Uganda, boys are innately born the superior gender. Thus opportunities naturally are given to them. Often in Uganda, if a family can only afford to send one child to school, they will inevitably choose the boy.


 

  • Since dowry still exists in many communities like these, girls are often seen as property that one family sells to another through marriage. Culturally, boys take care of their parents in their later years. Thus, many families of girl children don’t see the need to educate the girl child, since “she is just going to leave anyway.”

 

  • If a girl is not in school, she is often seen as “eligible” for marriage, regardless of her age, and her opinion.

 

  • A girl that is determined to go to school might be seen as “stubborn” or “trouble” because culturally, many men might believe that such a girl is trying to “overtake” them.  Such feelings of insecurity result in the emasculation that is often the root cause of domestic violence in the home.

 

  • Girls are human beings and deserve equal respect and opportunity.

 

A woman in Uganda 
  • Because of the lack of reproductive health education in many parts of Africa, as well as the stigmas surrounding condom use, and the patriarchal pressure that prevents girls from having the right to refuse sex, many girls end up pregnant very young. This is one of the main reasons I chose to put my girls into boarding school. 
     

 

  • The role of women, especially in rural villages is much like what you would imagine the role of women would have been 100 years ago in the States. They are born with little option to stray from the duties expected of them. Women in the villages spend their days walking miles and miles to fetch water and firewood. They tend the fields, digging and cultivating rice and corn. They take care of the chickens and goats, and make meals from scratch. They wash clothes in whatever water source they can find. They are in charge of raising the village children.  ·        

 

  • And generally speaking, and I hope we don't get poisoned for saying this, they need to be available to sexually satisfy their men when expected.Such cultural expectations are one of the main reasons girls are not given the opportunity to go to school.  Uganda has a very high rate of sexual and domestic violence toward women. 

Rights for All
  • The fact is that although all Ugandans (and most Africans) are deprived of many of their human rights, and are oppressed on a global level, Ugandan boys are still born with privilege and opportunity and girls are simply not. They are the lowest on the chain, and it's about time things changed. Given that this has been 'the cultural way' for generations, the solution as we see it is to focus on the youth. The only way out of this oppressive cycle is through education. If we empower the girls, and educate the boys on the importance of empowering their female counterparts-beginning with supporting them getting an education, the future of the country-and of our world, will thrive. 

 

  • Human rights are human rights, period. Because we, (like many of you), were circumstantially born into privilege, we believe that it’s our moral responsibility to use the rights we were unjustly granted to empower those who were unjustly granted less to see-and fight for their human rights too.