This particular class was a room of twenty Rwandan girls, ages 13 to 19, who come from vulnerable families living in the slums of Kigali. They are students at MindLeaps where I began teaching classes this past spring. Thanks to the generosity of the Alice Rowan Swanson fellowship grant program awarded through Students for International Training SIT , I was able to launch a comprehensive sexuality curriculum for MindLeaps, which was piloted for four months with a group of twenty Rwandan girls. The program emphasizes confidence building and communication skills, putting youth at the center of their sexual health and giving them the tools and confidence to make healthy, informed choices. Fast forward to one of our last classes and the feel of the class is markedly different. The following role play depicted a young woman asking her mother for money to buy sanitary pads for the first time.
Prostitution in Rwanda
Rwanda: Sex Education - Calls to Roll Out More 'Girl Rooms' Gather Pace - thisisjapan.asia
This project will provide short-term room and board, emergency healthcare, counseling, advocacy, and financial aid to 50 girls and women victims of sex trafficking in Kigali, Rwanda. The project will help to transition these girls and women from their past life of controlled abuse to stable independence. The young girls and women who have been victimized by sex traffickers and survived, are still extremely vulnerable and at risk of re-traumatization because of their horrific experience. They exhibit symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder including, depression and anxiety, poor self esteem, withdrawn behavior, promiscuity, habit disorders and rejection. The challenge is to provide intervention and practical assistance when it is most needed.
Rwanda: Sex Education - Calls to Roll Out More 'Girl Rooms' Gather Pace
Prostitution in Rwanda is illegal   in all aspects. Prostitutes , clients and any involved third parties such as pimps and brothel keepers are criminalised by the country's Penal Code. Due to the immense poverty in the country, many women have been forced into prostitution to make a living. Although prostitution is illegal it is widespread, particularly in the capital, Kigali ,   and other urban centres. Sex workers report harassment from the police.
Students are headed home for the three-week spring holiday. Clad in white shirts, khaki skirts and trousers with yellow sweaters, the nearly students, who range in age from 11 to 20, gather excitedly. They talk and wave their newly received report cards. The students are jovial and looking forward to the start of their holidays. Most say they will spend time with their families, eat tasty food and have fun with friends.