Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Breaking the Cycle

During Girls Camp this summer, Fount of Mercy's Community Health Initiative asked the girls, ages 9 to 30, to anonymously submit questions about puberty and family planning.

Some of the questions were startling:

"Is it true that if someone has a disease and plays sex, that disease will go away?"

"How do we avoid HIV/AIDS?"

"Is it true that when you have sex for the first time, you can't conceive?"

In Uganda, the topic of sex is taboo. Parents don't typically talk with their children about the subject, so young people are left to learn from their peers, leading to a dangerous cycle of myths and misinformation. And the wrong information about HIV transmission or conception can change a life drastically. When a girl in Uganda gets pregnant out of wedlock, she is often disowned by her parents. The father of the baby rarely takes responsibility, often ending her education.

The vision of Girls Camp is to develop a generation of girls who are equipped with factual information about their bodies, and act as change agents for their community, not just educating others about how to prevent disease, but also how to live an empowered life.

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