Here’s what Juliet had to say about her birthday on Facebook. Her beautiful words are worth re-posting any day of the year.
Today is my birthday. It also happens to be mother’s day! I woke up this morning and asked myself what example I want to set for my girls, especially those whose lives have been interrupted by many challenges and whose futures seem uncertain. I have been privileged to give life. I have also been privileged to have many mothers shape me– like the women in the village who chased us from the mango tree to go school, the neighbor who ensured that I did not play rough and hurt myself, the mothers union who ensured I had a relationship with God, and my own mother who sacrificed everything to ensure that I got the best education that she could afford.
I have received many blessings from you, my friends and family. I feel humbled and obliged to share these blessings. In Africa we say it takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately these community values are dying out. Life has become a challenge, especially with the economic demands on every family. However, I believe that we all still have a role to play in different capacities.
God blessed women with the capacity to give life… From puberty a girl’s fate begins to manifest, in Lango we call this “seeing the moon” neno dwe. While it is an exciting moment for some young girls as it symbolizes their womanhood, it is also the beginning of a major challenge for the majority, especially in the rural areas. Most girls are not prepared for what awaits them and are further confused by their peers who also know little about sexuality. Many girls drop out of school because they lack sanitary wear. Some are forced to use toilet paper and rugs and suffer severe burns. Consequently they find it more convenient to stay home. Surely this should not be happening in this modern day and times. Together with my friend Gillian, with whom I share a birthday, we have started the Over the Moon Project to help eliminate menstrual absenteeism in primary school. I strongly believe that each of us has a purpose and a role to play in our different capacities. By donating to this cause you shall make my birthday!
Many wonderful people answered Juliet’s call and helped make our birthday special. If you have not yet donated, we still need your help. Please fulfill your role in our collective mission to support the Akiya girls today!