Teenage Girls in Ethiopia Share Their Dreams for International Womens Day

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Lamech Mutava, Communications Officer

In six refugee camps in Gambella, Ethiopia, International Medical Corps provides services to prevent and help victims recover from gender-based violence (GBV). Within each of the camps, vulnerable women and girls visit women-friendly centers every day to receive much-needed services, including psychosocial support.

Adolescent girls even have a separate section where they can meet and discuss issues affecting them, as well as socialize and build their social networks. In the quest to make the center a fun place, and with the encouragement of International Medical Corps’ GBV response team, the girls formed a volleyball team. Members of the team meet twice a week to play, after attending a session where they discuss issues affecting them. “The establishment of the volleyball team has improved the number of girls attending the counseling and information-sharing sessions,” says Lul, the GBV Response Officer at Ngunyiel Camp. “Playing makes them happy and they always look forward to the next meeting.”

“We love meeting here because we get a lot of information from International Medical Corps officers,” says Nyaditek, the captain of the volleyball team. “The safe space is a nice place because we can express ourselves freely and discuss issues affecting us, without fear. After receiving training from International Medical Corps team, we usually reach out to our friends in the camps and share the lessons with them.”

Most of these girls did not have an opportunity to go to school at early age. They grew during a time when they and their family were fleeing war from South Sudan and seeking safe haven in Ethiopia. Their parents often marry them off at early age, which affects their chances of studying and achieving their dreams. But despite many challenges, they still hope to become people who can transform their world and help others like them.

Her name is Nyamal, her dream is to become a pilot.

Her name is Nyamal, her dream is to become a teacher.

Her name is Nyabuay, her dream is to become a doctor. To be there to treat her family.

Her name is Nyakul, her dream is to become a teacher.

Her name is Nyaduota, her dream is to become a teacher. She hopes to teach other girls who are in difficult situations.

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