Friday, March 13, 2015

Week 7: The Beginning Of The End

'Varibacika' means independence in Buli

It’s been a week of goodbyes, wrapping up and endings as we come to final few days of our stay in Sandema.

In this week’s last session with the Wiaga girls club, time went by so swiftly that, we wished we had more weeks to stay in Sandema. Our session focused on the topic ‘Black is Beautiful’ which was about skin bleaching, its effects, why people do it, and how to avoid it. We went on to talk about feminism and Ghanaian female role models since we had International Women’s Day the previous Sunday. It’s interesting to know how knowledgeable the girls were on the whole bleaching part of our session. Some of the girls told us how skin bleaching was caused by the mixture of different body creams which they were aware of and ended up knowing how it could be even caused by a single body cream from our presentation.

From the session, some of them told us the reasons why they would like to bleach such as, when you have friends who are fair, you would like to also be like them since you might be the odd one out. We also brought out some of the misconceptions that people had about being light skinned and why they bleach: fair people are always beautiful than people who are black/dark, and when one is dark/fair, he or she has no confidence. That’s why some people would prefer to change their skin color. Some of these misconceptions were that, men love to date ladies who are fair than those who are black/dark and interestingly, ‘if a lady is fair and is in dark room, a man finds it easy to locate her in the room than a black/dark lady.’

We then discussed some of the effects of the bleaching which was uncomfortable the girls to hear. The effects included, acne, kidney damage due to high level of mercury used in the creams, asthma and skin cancer. So many questions were being asked as they got so interested in the topic. We went on to advice them to always be proud of their color as blacks because black is beautiful and make sure to also use natural skin products which don’t contain chemicals that bleach like hydroquinone.

The session moved on as we talked about feminism and presented some great Ghanaian female role models like ‘The Queen Mother’ who led about 5000 men to war, though captured. Her actions stirred the nation’s independence. Some women like Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings and Rahama Wright were also presented on their great works. We made them understand that they as girls had the same rights as boys and not to be in the home or kitchen but also be educated as well. They also had the right to bring out great ideas just as boys. ‘When you educate a man, you educate an individual, but when you educate a woman, you educate a nation!’ As we had just celebrated Ghana’s Independence Day we thought it vital to emphasise the importance of self-reliance.

Our last ICT session on Wednesday also went well. The children are learning a lot and that it’s a inclusive environment creates a space where children with disabilities can learn alongside children without disabilities. Abigail wrapped the session up, and it was an emotional goodbye. We can only hope future cohorts will continue these sessions as we think they make such a positive impact. In our next blog we will hear from all the LIFE team members about their experience. Look out for it!  

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