By Francis Ssuubi – Founder, Wells of Hope Ministries.
The Next girl campaign aims to create awareness and support for girls faced by challenges that come with parental imprisonment; we hope we can these save girls from the risks and all forms of vulnerability.
Wells of Hope works to help children with imprisoned parents, but we put preference to girls ; so we admit more girls than boys reason being that, the girls are more vulnerable than boys. The girls are vulnerable to child rape, early pregnancies, child sacrifice , HIV/AIDS, Child labour and most of times they are not given equal opportunities as boys because the society says the girl is for the Kitchen and Marriage ,so they say it is a waste to take a girl to school. So when a parent goes to prison, the girl child stands at higher risks, and will probably not survive.
While seated on a train from Huddersfield to Grimbsy – UK late June 2013 , I was filled with a lot of thoughts about the young girls that we have saved from sexual abuse. Memories flooded my mind and I remembered the most recent young girl Grace whom I had saved in my recent family tracing for prisoners’ children in a village in Eastern Uganda, and we brought her to Wells of Hope where she was seeing everything and doing everything for the first time. It was the first time for her to put on shoes, the first time to put on a knicker, the first time to attend school, travel in a car, etc.
Now the question that came to me is WHO IS THE NEXT GIRL ? This was not the first time this question was flashing in my mind. It is the same question that comes to me every time we rescue a young girl. There are a lot of young girls here and also boys whose parents are on death row and others with a parent in prison who need to be rescued URGENTLY.
On 1st August 2013, the newspapers reported that in 2012, 8076 girls were defiled, so my heart goes to those girls with a parent in prison, because they are at a higher risk as compared to other girls. I feel for the other children too, but my heart goes out for the ones with a parent in prison whose case will never go to police because the parent who would try to defend them is in prison.
Because I was engrossed with these thoughts about the girls like Grace, I realized I had arrived at a station where I had to change the train , I came out hurriedly with my luggage, read from the directions my friend Ben from Huddersfield University had given me, they were so clear, but in the process of looking for the right platform, I missed a connecting train between Huddersfield and Grimbsy because I went to a wrong platform, anyway I was able to get another train and I got to Grimbsy safely.
The same thoughts prevailed in the next train While in the next train, I got inspired and promised myself that when I return to Uganda, I will launch a campaign whose name I was able to get right away as “THE NEXT GIRL Campaign”.
When I returned to Uganda ,I shared with my team at Wells of Hope, and each one of us kept asking the same question whose is the Next girl? SO that is why we are requesting Girls in developed Countries like the USA , Europe , New Zealand ,Canada to join us in asking the same question, so that we help to rescue more girls. So , who is the next girl?
HOW THE NEXT GIRL CAMPAIGN WORKS:
1. Become Wells of Hope Next Girl Champion.
2.Form a Next Girl Club .
3.The next girl champions can become pen pal friends with the girls in Uganda or anywhere Wells of Hope operates.
4.Next Girl Club meet when they able to talk about Issues that affect Girls with imprisoned parents .
5.Next Girl Club can be advocates or activists in their area to raise the plight of the girls with incarcerated parents!
6.The Next Girl Champion coordinates or facilitates The Next Girl Dinner which is an opportunity to come together with your friends , family members , Class mates and/or your favorite social group for a fun night of food and reflection on the plight of Girls with imprisoned parents and their caretakers grandmothers and moms . During the dinner, you can watch videos from Wells of Hope and also learn about updates of what is going on at Wells of Hope and listen to testimonies of these girls have been rescued and how they cope and succeeding.
7.You can host a Next Girl fundraising event or activity. eg a Cycle ride ,This will help raise awareness and funds that can help keep girls in school .
8.Next Girl Market: Another idea is to find volunteers who can host a Market of the handcrafted jewelry, purses and other unique gift items made by these girls in Uganda. Everything needed to display the items for sale would be sent to you in a box. 100% of the proceeds go to helping Wells of Hope to rescue girls with incarcerated parents
9.Next Girl Box: Your Next Girl Club could put together in a box letters to the children which could also include, , or any gifts e.g. books, pencil cases, coloring books, Crayons, toys , dresses that can be sent to Wells of Hope either by mail or through a volunteer travelling from the US to Uganda or any mission Wells of Hope field.
10. Tell at least three other people about Wells of Hope.
11. Next Girl Champion can sponsor or Ask someone if they can sponsor a girl. They can sponsor a girls education USD35 or sponsor a girl to buy Sanitary pads, Under wear and Lotion every month 3 USD a month.
Please note, it’s not a must to carry out all these suggested activities, Feel free to come up with other ideas you feel you can do , consult Wells of Hope .
If you wish to sponsor a child, we will give you a profile of a child. We will support you all the way, you can contact us.
QUESTION:: WHO IS THE NEXT GIRL?
To partner with us to answer this question, Please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org in case your are interested in joining THE NEXT GIRL CAMPAIGN .