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An impression of an Eritrean young woman

An impression of an Eritrean young woman

This is an impression and experience that I share with the young women in my generation. I am part of the generation who joined Sawa National training center for military training and 12th grade academic year. This was also a preparatory programme for me to participate in the National High School Leaving Examination as a channel to my coming years of college. I am also part of the several youth who are doing their National service as a teacher in the Warsay-Yikalo secondary school. As such for me Sawa is a center where I joined it with different phases. On these phases I was able to witness various experiences, ways of life, opportunities and challenges and life time lessons. Through these experiences that I share with the thousands of young women in my generation, I want to respond to various allegations raised – by external actors - on the condition of young women in Sawa and who allude to acts that undermine women’s rights and safety.

Like most of my colleagues departing to Sawa, it was a first time exposure for me to the outside world out of the boundary of home and my hometown. Yet this exposure was a bridge to the confident, self- reliant and assertive part of myself. Not a period of humiliation and downgrading of one’s self respect. Through this experience I was able to acquire various social and moral skills that I am still applying them as a grownup within the society.

During my time as a teacher in Warsay-Yikalo and as an active member of the volunteer group that took the initiative of young women’s empowerment, I was able to engage in the livelihood of my female students.

Every year, this initiative group of female teachers along with the counseling office of the school, arranges awareness programs that inspire the students for academic excellence, to acquire the right self-respect of themselves as women, to be equipped with wise social adjustment skills, and backing the students with the essential knowledge on health issues in particular on gender related issues that impinge on the daily life of these students. Moreover, this initiative attaches high importance to training aimed at the empowerment and assertiveness of these students. Self-confidence and assertiveness would shield them, it is believed, from bullying or harassment from students, teachers or officers.

As it is very difficult to reach the optimum target of sensitizing the students through mass seminars that includes around five to seven thousand students, a system of organizing these students in a battalion level was put into practice that includes around 200 students. Through these mechanisms, every female student can have unfettered access to share her questions, opinions and experiences.

A part of these programs is the counseling office within the school with its branches in every block of the school with psychology graduated teachers. Here, the students were able to come and share their questions, challenges and burdens, where they were able to have access to all the needed assistance and guidance from the concerned parts. Some of the teachers in the School were women, and their role as a closer part for the assistance of gender related challenges was critical. On rare cases of sexual and physical harassment, the women teachers had much closer ears for better understanding and initiations in taking actions of solving the situations. Hence, this office was able to serve as a solution channel for many cases related to these issues.

An interesting endeavor undertaken in partnership by the school and the Bureau of the National Training Center is the organized sensitization program. Every year, organized sessions of workshops and trainings are provided. These joint bodies oversee and are responsible for the safe, accommodation and well-being of these students both during the military training and academic periods. Within these workshops, awareness trainings in relation to the behavioral psychology of the students, health issues among the female students, response and handling of potential sexual harassments are carried out including from legal and administrative perspectives and regulations.

Since the inception of this program, there has been a full support and assistance of all governing bodies of Sawa. I always appreciated their committed assistance and their strong conviction on the significance of these programs that envisioned on bringing up a confident, secured and empowered Eritrean young woman within Sawa.

So I find insulting the oblique allegations that sully the image of Sawa. For me and all my colleague, it was a very formidable place where we were able to realize our aspiration to contribute in the empowerment of our younger siblings. Being part of the thousands and thousands of young girls who were able to finish their military training and academic time free from such threatening dark clouds, and being part of the teacher who was fighting for eliminating any possibility of such acts makes me relish the experience with fondness.

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An impression of an Eritrean young woman Reviewed by Admin on 9:49 AM Rating: 5

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