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Family life club opens doors for Oumou

“Child marriage and early pregnancy are the two main challenges girls face in our community,” says 19-year-old Oumou of Senegal, reflecting on her friend who had been forced to marry and drop out of school, exposing her to the dangers of early pregnancy complications – the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 around the world.

But thanks to you, Oumou is one of the 15 girls and boys of the family life club – which you make possible – who is beginning to break the cycle of child marriage and health risks like early pregnancy in her community.

Watch and learn how the club you support is empowering Oumou to create change and chase her dreams:

The family life club is more than a safe and inclusive space for Oumou and its 15 members to meet after school. It’s an empowered and united assembly of youth gaining life-changing education and opportunities.

Together, club members decide what topics to learn and discuss at their monthly meetings, whether sexual and reproductive health, gender roles and equality or family planning and contraception.

 


“There are no taboo subjects – we talk about everything,” Oumou says openly. “In the club, there is a friendly relationship between boys and girls. We laugh and have fun together!”

 
Oumou plays soccer with girls and boys from the club.

Oumou and the family life club are breaking gender stereotypes on and off the field.


Club members have put your support into action through community-engagement activities like donating blood, advocating for girls’ rights with local leaders and marches against child marriage and avoiding potentially life-threatening dangers, like early pregnancy.

And their efforts are working! “Girls are now gaining the right to say no,” Oumou beams, proud of what the club has achieved.

The club trainings, which you help fund, are giving girls a greater understanding of their rights, and the confidence to talk to their teachers or the authorities if they are being forced into early marriage.

“Now, girls are empowered enough to decline early marriage,” affirms Oumou. “They are well informed now, and know how to address the issue.”

And it’s not just the girls who are changing.

Oumou happily stands arm in arm with two friends, one girl and one boy, from the club.

Oumou (at right) and her fellow champions of gender equality and reproductive health!


“Thanks to the club, we have noticed changes in the role boys have,” shares Oumou, grateful for your generous support.

Boys in the community are also taking more interest in family planning education and have better awareness and access to male contraceptive methods, as well.

 


“There is gender equality at school!” Oumou says happily. Now, girls feel more comfortable at school and sit in the front row, eager to learn.

 

With your support, the family life club is bringing out the best of the community, and of each of its members. And Oumou has realized her potential, and that of every girl.

“I believe women can do any job.”

A nurse shows Oumou maternal health equipment in a clinic.

Through the family life club and your encouragement, Oumou has found her calling: to be a midwife.


Oumou’s dream – which you are helping her achieve – is now to be a midwife. She wishes to see the loving bond between healthy mothers and their babies grow strong.

Today, thanks to you and the support of the family life club, Oumou is building her skills and confidence, and recognizing her abilities through safe-delivery and leadership training.

“A leader must be comprehensive and tolerant,” Oumou reflects on her training. “I have learned how a leader must behave and I am trying to do so: to direct, influence and lead toward good outcomes.”

Oumou sits at the front of the family life club, presenting to her fellow members.

Oumou has the courage to lead the family life club, thanks to you!


Oumou believes in the transformative power of programs like the family life club, which your continual support makes possible.

Thank you for empowering Oumou and many other girls with a safe space to take a stand against child marriage and avoid health risks like early pregnancy. With you in their corner, they’re now able to access opportunities every girl should have, like the chance to learn, lead, decide and thrive.

A confident and happy Oumou


“These programs are helping to change the birth story,” Oumou says with a smile, hopeful that alongside proud Because I am a Girl supporters like you, you’ll together continue to advance the fight for gender equality, girls’ rights and an end to child marriage – everywhere.

 


You already support the movement, now with just your signature you can add momentum to help give thousands of girls around the world – like Oumou – the chance to harness their rights, lead full, healthy lives and achieve whatever goals they may choose.

 

Sign our pledge to show you support girls’ right to health!

Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.