This year we decided to relaunch our vulnerable girls project to include teenage boys and we renamed this project the "Teens Project." Our UK Director Corrie Fraser, explains why... We have been working with teenage girls in the slums of Kampala for many years now and I personally have often been heartbroken to hear about the challenges they face. Young girls in the slums are regularly offered money, school fees or cosmetics in exchange for sex with men and teenage boys. They live in shacks in the slums which are not secure and are often the head of child headed families and therefore have no protection. They are faced with difficult circumstances and choices and the culture within Uganda does not encourage an open dialogue about these things. We have been holding girls groups with our trained counsellors allowing girls to ask difficult questions, seek practical help, advice and to learn about Jesus.
However we have recently felt that God is prompting us to be working with teenage boys as well. Boys are often overlooked within aid organisations and can feel like they are left to figure out life alone. Many teenage boys are living without fathers or have male role models in their lives who are involved in substance abuse, crime, gambling and sexual promiscuity. One boy whom KCK now sponsors to go to boarding school was growing up in the slums without an education and reported that he had been encouraged by older men to attend the slums video halls on a daily basis. Video halls in the slums show adult films from morning until evening and young unemployed men and out of school boys are constantly encouraged to spend the little money they have at these halls where home made alcohol is also drunk all day. There are so many opportunities for young boys to make bad choices for their lives whilst growing up in the slums and we at KCK have a huge desire to support these boys and steer them away from things that will destroy their lives and ultimately keep them in poverty. That is why we want to engage with teenage boys as well as girls.
This year our first ever Teen's Conferencewas attended by 200 teenagers from the slums of Kampala. Teens were able to attend seminars on sex. relationships, careers and God and Christianity. We would love this conference to be a yearly event and to increase its reach and include more and more teenagers from the slums of Kampala.
Along with providing teenagers with a safe space to discuss issues and receive advice we want to provide them with an education. Our School Sponsorship programme currently supports 70 children to go to school and amazingly we have seen many children enter their teenage years with a secondary education available to them. However we often come across teenagers who have completed their primary school years but have not had the funds to enter secondary education. Everyone knows that the time of transition between primary and secondary is a difficult time and so too is entering into adolescence. This is made even more difficult for children who know they will never have the chance to attend secondary school and therefore enter the world as partly educated teenagers with no hope of good employment. We would love to provide for teenagers to continue their education or for those who have missed many years of school we would love to give them the opportunity to enter vocational training in order to give them the skills to have a great future. If you would like to specifically sponsor a Teen please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lets tell these Teens that the world has not given up on them and that they have much more to achieve and accomplish beyond a primary school education.