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WHAT IS A GIRL What is life like for a refugee girl? Voices of refugee adolescent girls at Kobe Refugee Camp, Ethiopia.

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Presentation on theme: "WHAT IS A GIRL What is life like for a refugee girl? Voices of refugee adolescent girls at Kobe Refugee Camp, Ethiopia."— Presentation transcript:

1 WHAT IS A GIRL What is life like for a refugee girl? Voices of refugee adolescent girls at Kobe Refugee Camp, Ethiopia

2 We are adolescent girls from Kobe Refugee Camp in Ethiopia. Many of us are in school, but like all the girls in the camp we do a lot of house work. WFP provides food to the refugees here. Today was food distribution day so we are at the mill to grind up the maize we received. With this food, we help prepare dinner for our families. Girls are not expected to be much in our culture. We get married around 15-16, have babies, and are expected to take care of our husbands, children, and clean and cook. But girls can do more and be more. Girls can study, have ambitions, study, and become a teacher, engineer, or politician. We would like to be supported to pursue our goals. We can do the same things boys can do. We ask that our families and communities treat boys and girls the same way.

3 My name is Rahma. I am a Somali refugee girl. My family fled Somalia because of the famine and conflict. In Somalia I have never gone to school, but here at Kobe camp, I began attending school and a program implemented by the International Medical Corps at the Girl Center. At the Girl Center, I take computer class and English class. But like all girls here, after classes I take care of my younger brother and cook dinner for the family. I have many other responsibilities that sometimes interferes with my school work. I want to become a health care worker someday. I want to help sick people and earn enough money to help my family. At the Girl Center, I can talk to other girls about my future dreams. They challenge me to work hard and we encourage each other to achieve our goals.

4 My name is Sadio and I’m from a rural village in Somalia. Back home we had animals that we made our living from, but they all died because of the drought. My family then fled to Ethiopia and we live as refugees here at Kobe camp. Girls from our home village often don’t go to school. In our culture, girls normally have a lot of responsibilities. I am lucky I can go to school here. Everyday before going to school, I wake up early to prepare breakfast for the whole family. This often makes me late for school and I’m sometimes punished for it. When I get back from school, I have many activities like fetching water, taking care of my younger siblings, and preparing dinner. I never had time to play and I didn’t have anyone to call a friend. But since joining the girl center program in the camp, I made a lot of friends, and I get to learn a lot of different things like working with the computer. We also play ball together and dance to music. The staff of the girl center discussed many things with my parents and I’m very happy now that a lot of responsibilities I had are now shared with other family members.

5 Girls are tasked with fetching water, as well as many other responsibilities. We rarely have time to play or study after school. But our lives are more than just doing chores and getting married. We can do more. Let us prove it. At Kobe Refugee Camp, there is one program that is helping girls to do more. It brings girls together to learn computer skills, engage in sports activities, and share our experiences with each other. We don’t mind fetching water or doing other house chores if we can spend some of our time together as girls. Being together with girls our own age helps us not to be isolated and make us have confidence about ourselves. The skills we learn here give us hope for our futures.

6 Girls often face danger when they have to leave camp to collect firewood. At Kobe Camp in Ethiopia, this is a daily activity for some girls. Many of them are harassed on the way and sometimes they are physically attacked. We would like if collecting firewood was made safer or if we can share these responsibilities with our brothers so that they can help carry the heavy load and keep us safe. It’s difficult for our parents to accept that boys and girls are equal so they should share equal responsibilities. We need more programs for adults to help change their mindset about girls. And girls need more education and learning opportunities so that we can show them that we are as useful as boys when we grow up.

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