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By speaking Out you can Overcome your challenges!

I see many challenges and barriers on different levels in creating change in my community. On a broader community level it seems that people tend to turn a blind eye to the atrocities that children experience, such as child abuse and child sexual exploitation/child trafficking. Community members and especially women feel powerless to do anything about these atrocities. Unemployed women, teenagers and children left without supervision while mothers seek work or are working, leave them on their own and vulnerable. Adults are not really being the care-takers, but are instead the substance abusers, abusers or victims of domestic violence and abuse themselves. This makes it difficult for them to understand what impact this has on their children. There is not enough understanding and awareness about the nature of sexual exploitation/trafficking and abuse; how it happens, what can be done about it and who the perpetrators are. Other challenges are not getting enough support from government departments or feeling let down by them, which further exacerbates and causes barriers to change.

On an institutional level government departments are not working together with each other and not engaging enough with civil society to combat these issues. One of the major barriers at the moment is the reduction of and lack of funding for non-profit organisations in my country, which has created a funding crisis. However, what I and my organisation have done is to forge more partnerships with other NPOs, government departments, build individual relationships with people on the ground.

I, with my colleagues, work on the ground-level, by creating awareness within civil society and government departments and ensuring that child protection is on the agendas of both alike. This helps in pulling together our resources and finding creative ways to help our clients.

We need to start with children and teens, especially our girls, before they become victims. One of the things I do is manage a victim empowerment programme, which provides counselling, support, life-skills, motivational sessions, parent-child groups, etc. However, I see the expansion of this empowerment, with Web 2.0, where girls and young women can share their experiences in a safe space and hopefully be empowered before they become victims. We are not reaching enough girls fast enough, but with the use of Web 2.0 I believe we can do this! Women, mothers, teen girls can start to really share with one another, support each other, find out that they are not alone, and mobilise to challenge government and NPOs to help them bring about change within their communities. Already with Pulse Wire and other social media, I inform others about what it is I do, what the issues are or need assistance with. Pulse Wire and other online communities is the future and is instrumental in empowering girls. As well as investing in women, key to ending poverty and empowering them with the tools of Web 2.0, where they will bring their own solutions and one day live in a world free of violence and abuse.

Comments

Teresa Temweka's picture

Charmaine

It is true what they say, prevention is better than cure. we need to protect our girls now, than wait until they are abused. Change begins with us, women. there is no need to be helpless, we have the power, lets unite.

Teresa

amiesissoho's picture

The future is here

It is undeniable that the future is already here. Many young women are on the web and this is an advantage to engage them into activism. Good luck Charmaine.

Amie

Debra Engle's picture

You're a powerful advocate

I'm so impressed by your insights and your specific vision for positive change. It sounds as though you're working on many different levels to make a deep impact. Congratulations on your work and your writing...you're making a big difference!

Deb Engle

Charmaine,
Your vision and your voice is 'spot on', as we say here in America. Not only have you found your voice, you have also found your power and you are using it to educate, inspire and reduce human suffering. I could feel that in your essay for this week's assignment.

As I see it, you are the epitome of what VOF is looking for--a woman on a mission has already established herself as a warrior for change and who can become even more powerful with the mentoring offered through VOF.

That said, nothing can stand in the way of ONE POWERFUL AND PASSIONATE WOMAN.
Never forget that your work is worthy and that all you offer will come circling back to you.
Blessed be.

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