The Girls Center is, in fact, more than a safe girls space; our students think of it as theirs. A home where they live, study, cook, and form life-long bonds with each another. They spend 2-6 months during their school vacations and Gap Years at The Girls Center.
TGFT students enjoy sharing what they’ve learned at school and in TGFT workshops with our Women’s Savings Group which meets twice a month at The Girls Center. The women’s stories of their challenges in providing for their children are familiar stories to our students whose own families are also struggling.
During TGFT’s Leadership Workshops we hire Mama Anna to cook meals for us. She is an active member of TGFT’s Women’s Savings Group and a single mother with four children. She sells fried bananas to passersby on the street.
Until recently, Mama Anna lived across the street from The Girls Center until her home became uninhabitable when her landlord refused to make repairs. She was given a loan of $45 from the Women’s Savings Group in order to move. After we paid her for cooking meals for us, she turned to Grace, our House Manager and Treasurer of the Women’s Savings Group and gave her earnings to repay her loan promptly.
Mama Anna’s daughter Anna is enrolled in our After-School Program. Every day Anna collects our food scraps for her mother who exchanges with her neighbor, a farmer who owns a cow, for 1 and 1/2 liters of milk.
TGFT students volunteer at our After-School Program at The Little Library where 45 primary school students study every afternoon and on Saturdays. TGFT students know how challenging it is to study when you don’t own your own text books.
Several TGFT students have tutored Joseph, a 7th grader: and all of us recognize how smart he is. On a recent test, Joseph scored 94% in English and a 92% in Math. Joseph never knew his father and two years ago his mother left him with a neighbor, who is a single mother who never spends the night at home. We’ve recommended Joseph to another organization to provide him the financial support he needs to matriculate to secondary school.
Our students and our neighbors don’t have much however, they feel a kinship and responsibility to one another. At The Girls Center we are providing support and resources, while TGFT students are helping others. By ‘passing it forward’, they are gaining experiences to develop self-reliance.