What’s a girl to do? The teenage years mean change for all girls, but they are especially difficult in a shame based culture. Mothers are ashamed to talk with their daughters about puberty and, consequently, girls are ashamed to ask anyone else. Teachers from a village school we’ve been working with asked us to give a girls’ seminar for the topics of puberty, hygiene, purity, personal value and identity.
Sharzada, an 11th grader, listened intently to the hygiene lesson and asked questions. Later that week she and others from her class shared the same lesson with the 7th-10th graders in her school. Sharzada has even started her own group for girls on her street, teaching what she is learning. These girls are realizing that growing up is not something to be ashamed of, and that each of them is a treasure worth protecting.
“I never talked at school.” Aida, a slim, brown eyed girl confessed. “I came and went from class without saying a word. I was afraid and embarrassed. My older sister is the beautiful one in the family and I thought I was ugly.” The seminar helps the girls realise that they don’t need to be ashamed of the changes that are happening in them. During the last lesson of the four-part series, the CDI trainers told each girl that she is beautiful, special and a gift from God. Aida took this to heart. “Now I talk in class and share my thoughts with other girls. I greet people and even hug them. I know that I am beautiful too.”