Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Kuza Project Interviews: Irene

Irene is one of the founding Kuza mentors. She is a fantastic dancer and very outgoing!

A few notes on our interview with her:

When Irene refers to the girls of the Mukuru community being "spoiled" she means that they do not have any discipline.

As in earlier interviews, Irene mentions that having a separate center for the Kuza girls where they will have access to develop "life skills" would be critically helpful. Happily, I can write that we are currently in the process of raising funds for U-Tena in order to allow them to purchase a building within the community that would be used exactly for this purpose.  Please see the DONATE link above to help us accomplish this!

Additionally, at one point in the interview Irene mentions that if the girls knew that they would be learning life skills (aka making beads, learning to braid hair, etc.) they would be more likely to come to meetings. This may seem to imply that the girls do not have a consistent attendance rate. However, this is not the case. Overall, the Kuza Project has seen an extremely high retention rate of the girls enrolled in the program. The few girls who have left the program have done so because of family or logistical reasons- and we have had one death since the initiation of the program. However, it should be noted that this program takes in girls ages 10-17 and attempts to keep them in the program until they turn 18. While the lessons are also split by age (the younger group is 10-13 and the older group is 14-17), at some point the girls who have been in the program for a long time will have learned most of the lessons the mentors cover. It would be beneficial for the Kuza Project to provide learning opportunities that would establish a long-term base foundation of skill sets in addition to the sexual/reproductive health, self-esteem building, and mental health counseling.

-Sarah Sneed