Ahead of International Women's Day on March 8, we talk to Shalom - a Club Mentor at BRAC Tanzania's Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents Programme about her work with vulnerable girls.
Shalom is 18 and has a look of strength and determination about her. She clearly takes her role as Club Mentor very seriously.
She sits quietly among the girls as they arrive to the club from school, home or work, and then quickly jumps up and starts a call-and-response game to get everyone energised and ready for the session.
The girls respect her, following her instructions and listening to her decisions and advice. We asked her about her role.
When did you become a mentor for BRAC?
I became a mentor last year. I took my form 4 exams but unfortunately I didn’t pass (meaning she could not continue in school). I heard about the mentorship and decided to apply. I was interviewed for the position and was selected.
What does it mean to be a mentor?
I make daily plans for my club, I have to ensure it is clean, that the members arrive on time and that the activities and teaching are planned out.
It is sometimes hard to motivate the girls and to meet the expectations of the parents regarding the club. I have to explain the objective so they understand.
Why do you think it is important for girls to have a mentor?
It is important so they are able learn about things that they are not taught about elsewhere. It protects them from so many things, like teenage pregnancy, for example.
I want to be the kind of girl who educates other girls and reduces some of the ills that affect our society.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I like it the most when I see that the girls are listening to the things I have taught them and they are becoming better people.
BRAC’s Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents (ELA) Programme aims to assist vulnerable adolescent girls to achieve greater economic and social empowerment by providing safe spaces for sharing their experiences, life skills, livelihood training and credit support to start their income-generating activities. Follow BRAC Tanzania on Twitter.
Theirworld is working with BRAC to run Code Clubs in the ELA Youth Clubs where girls aged 11 to 25 will learn how to code, foster creative thinking and increase important knowledge and skills for future work.