The Health Programme
A healthy community is the basis of a strong and happy community. Kar Geno operates a health programme aimed at young people in each of our 7 partner schools to provide accurate and useful health information and education. This information ranges from HIV/AIDS and STDs, to overall adolescent health. Due to the high demand for this program, combined with a lack of instructors, we are regrettably unable to run it with a consistent schedule at every school. When we do run the programme at a school, we find the results are compelling. Recipients gain an understanding about the options for HIV prevention, testing and treatment, understanding of the different types of contraception available, and the programme helps break down the stigma HIV/AIDS still has in Kenya.
The Health Programme also provides education and encourages discussions on contraception with a strong emphasis on abstinence. Kar Geno also outlines and reiterates the positive effects that education has on young people’s lives, and emboldening confidence and improving opportunities.
Another program we are able to offer specifically focuses on the often disadvantaged and overlooked female children in families. Female children between the ages of 8-16 are frequently given fewer opportunities with regard to education, leisure and employment than are their male siblings. These girls face issues everyday that compromise the rest of their lives, such being encouraged into marriage and pregnancy at a young age instead of school. Young girls are frequently encouraged to marry and have children as an alternative to school, since many of the girls and their families are unable to afford increasing school fees.
Young girls also frequently face difficulties when they start to menstruate. Sanitary towels are expensive to purchase every month, and frequently not available to young girls. The lack of sanitary products leaves many girls choosing to stay at home because they are embarrassed and teased by their male peers during menstruation. Kar Geno attempts to instil a sense of confidence in young girls, and recognition that marriage and children are not their only options. We also provide sanitary products to the girls when we can.
We hope in the future to bring these programs into all the homes of those who might already be infected with HIV, or those who are unable to attend school. While we promote this knowledge at the children’s program, there is still a significant amount of work to be done.
If you are a health professional or have a qualification or experience in public health or indeed just interest in this subject, we would really like to host you as a volunteer. Our programme and community would benefit immensely from the volunteering of health professionals particularly. Health knowledge and education is lifesaving and makes a huge difference in rural Kenya.