Red Rose School in Kenya Connect with Girls Prep School in New York City!

Recently, the Girls Club in Kenya (Red Rose School) and the Girls Club here in New York City (Girls Prep School) got a chance to connect on real time through the power of technology! The Girls Clubs for Literacy aims to create a global sisterhood, so this opportunity for the girls to see and speak to each other face to face builds a bridge between nations, no matter how far apart in distance. The girls were able to communicate at 9 AM New York City time and 4 PM local Kenya time. Check out their photos below!




We look forward to connecting more girls across the world! This is a great beginning to the adventures to come in the new year.

Give to Girls All Over the World.

If you have visited this blog before, you are familiar with LitWorld's work in empowering young women in countries such as Kenya, Iraq, Ghana, Liberia, and in various locations in the U.S.

This Holiday season, we have decided to engage our international community in a gift that lasts a lifetime:  launching five new Girls Clubs sites throughout the world. LitWorld Girls Clubs for literacy provides mentoring, literacy & leadership workshops, health & safety information, and lessons on female empowerment & the importance of education to girls in vulnerable communities. We equip these young women to become literacy leaders, thus allowing them to be more self-sufficient, educated, and empowered.

Please visit our Global Giving page on how you can give your gift to girls , and please tell your friends to pass the word along. You can also watch our video below, and go to this link for more information!


Girls Club Kibera is on a Roll!

The Girls Clubs of Kibera have been on a roll all year, participating in numerous uplifting projects thanks to the leadership of Joscelyn O. Truitt and Jeff Okoth. The photo above shows the girls with a remarkable quilt made especially for them by the Children of Kibera intern, Jackie Espana, after the girls participated in knitting lessons. The fabric in the quilt are made from their first pieces, a reminder of all their time spent together during lessons!

Aside from their quilting project, the girls in Kibera have also been discussing peaceful tactics for conflict resolution, and dialoguing about peer pressure and self-respect. Talks on health and hygiene have also been important topics, resulting in their story project, "Nesla's Dillema".  As you might remember from our previous post, the Kibera girls have also been exploring ideas of esteem, and celebrating the multifaceted beauty of black women through their photo shoot project, "A Girl Is...".

We can't wait to see the new adventures the upcoming year has in store for the Kibera girls. We thank Joscelyn and Jeff for their inspiring leadership in Kenya!

"A Girl Is..." by LitWorld Girls Club in Kibera, Kenya

By: Japheth "Jeff" Ochieng

"A Girl Is..." is a self-esteem project. The facilitators felt that the girls harbored negative attitudes and perceptions about the physical beauty of black women. In response to this, we discussed what influences young girls to feel that skin color determines beauty.

Then, we pointed out each other's beautiful qualities and talked about the positive images that black women represent. We finished with a photo shoot- head shots of each girl.

Before each girl's turn, she was to finish the sentence: "A girl is... " Each girl was to think of a positive quality that isn't related to physical beauty, but rather, why girls are special and unique on the inside. Below each girl's photo is her thought.

You can also check out the rest of the photos on this LINK HERE.

LitWorld Girls Club Kenya: What We're All About

Welcome to LitWorld Girls Club Kenya! Since April 2010, LitWorld and Children of Kibera Foundation have partnered to implement a Girls’ Club in the Red Rose Primary School community. Currently, we work with 24 girls every Sunday afternoon at the Red Rose campus. We’ve had a wonderful year together! So far, we’ve engaged in a few different activities to increase literacy, but also to introduce issues that affect girls and young women, particularly in Kibera. Our Girls Club is a meeting space for young girls, ages 9-13, to practice their creative writing skills by applying them to real-world situations they each face in Kenya.

Red Rose Girls Club is situated in Kibera, Kenya’s largest urban slum. Kibera holds about half a million residents who live in small shanty homes. Residents of Kibera face extreme poverty, lack of sanitation, improper health and education facilities, violence, corruption, and overcrowding. For young girls, it can be difficult to elude traps like teenage pregnancy, dropping out of school, or losing hope of success as young women are constant targets of violence, rape, and abuse. One Girls’ Club member, Mercy, writes about these pressures in her poem, “Who Am I as a Girl?”

As a little girl being employed

Others to school as I am at home.

Working past hours, never given time to rest.

Being weak, no growing, no feeding or being abused.

As little girls, we should fight for our rights.

Finding a young girl learning and enjoying

Life in school, but after a few weeks,

Boy sweet talks mislead the girls

After a few months, falling in love, a girl drops out of school.

Why, every girl has a right to school.

As little girls, we should fight for our rights.

All my parents are gone, I’m remaining an orphan.

People insulting and laughing at me,

Others even encourage me to leave school. Why?

I should learn to become a good person in the future,

Help my family to leave poorness behind and cheer for new life.

As little girls, we should fight for our rights.

Girls Club encourages students to express their thoughts and views using stories, poems, songs, and other creative mediums. Aside from that, we spend a considerable amount of time talking about the pressures that can steer a young girl away from concentrating on her studies. One topic that is especially important is health and hygiene. Many girls miss days or weeks of school during their menstrual cycle due to shame and no access to sanitary pads. Girls Club plays a hugely important role in providing sanitary pads and info sessions on how to use them and care for one’s personal hygiene. One member, Diana, wrote:

There was a girl named Diana. She had a problem. She never had anyone to talk to. But since we introduced girls’ club, she came in. But she was so scared to say her problem.  She had a big problem that was eating her up. We talked about many things. She still didn’t want to say her problem. One day, she heard somebody talk about the problem she also has. The problem was how or what to do when have your period. Now look how girls club really helped her in life and now she is ready to share the problem she has. Girls’ club is really helpful to the girls.

Girls Club offers these girls a safe place to discuss body issues or social problems that are often too shameful to discuss with a parent. Another important topic is staying away from peer pressure or harmful people. We introduced a Children of Kibera Foundation high school scholar, Abiba, who talked about different ways to maintain good grades and to stay away from men or boys who might persuade you to leave school. Rape is not an uncommon occurrence in Kibera, and so it’s also important for girls to know how to protect themselves from such attacks. We also discussed the concept of “sugar daddies”, or men who will provide you with things in exchange for sex. This trend has become widely accepted as a means for a young woman to take care of herself, so we made sure to talk about prostitution and how it can be disguised as something different.

One other activity that the girls have taken great pleasure in is learning to knit. We provided needles and yarn, introduced the first few steps, and the girls took off. Some have caught some form of knitting fever! They knit with sticks and thread they find on the ground. With the help of a former intern, we put together a beautiful quilt, which features all of the girls’ first pieces. It’s a small reminder of the time we spend together every Sunday.

Girls Club has become an important and vital meeting place for young girls in the slums. Coming together every week to complete activities, have discussions, or play games have allowed the girls to trust the facilitators, but more importantly, to trust each other. Bringing women together to find strength and courage among each other to become leaders is what Girls Club ultimately represents.

- Joscelyn, Girls Club Facilitator

Girls Clubs Are Growing In Kenya


Our LitWorld Girls Club in Kibera, Kenya, confidently dance to Waka Waka in front of 500 people at the Children of Kibera Foundation Music festival!

And that's not all the good news we have from Kenya: Last Friday, LitWorld and Executive Director Pam Allyn launched a video chat training on Skype for four schools in Kisumu, Kenya to launch Girls Clubs there. The young women at Kisumu have a high rate of early pregnancy, drop out, and abuse, so it is imperative to create girls empowerment programs to inspire and bring extra care and support to Kisumu's young women. Each school that participated in the Skype video chat has about 1,000 students and 22 teachers PER school. We cannot wait to grow the Girls Club movement in Kenya, and hope you'll all join us along for the journey ahead.


The last two weeks of our meetings have been expressions of joy . The girls have been marvelling about all the gifts they received from the visiting LitCorps Annie Foley and Jim Allyn. They look at the notebooks, pens and inspirational books with admiration. As we write this article, they want other girls out there to know how grateful and happy they are. All these gifts meant a lot to them especially the laptop!

They all had something to say about the difference this laptop will bring to the club.

Florence: It will help us make new friends and keep in touch easily

Diana:It will enable us to share ideas with other girls in the world and be able to encourage each other

Sharon:It will enable us to know more about other girls and what they are doing in their girls' clubs

Mercy:It was very costly to use the internet in cyber. With this laptop, I can now keep in touch with my friends

Quinter:I will be able to easily reach teacher Pam. I will also learn to use a computer.

Specioza: I will be able to keep my secrets!

Asante sana to LitWorld!

Kibera Girls Club: Knitting Madness!

The newly formed LitWorld Girl's Club has been going strong!

Facilitators 'Teacher' Rose, Joscelyn Truitt, and Jackie Espana have enjoyed guiding and spending time with the girls. So far, the club has played many games to create a comfortable and trusting environment, talked about menstruation, sanitary pads, and changing bodies, the seriousness of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape and how we can protect ourselves and support each other, how to write our own stories, and most recently the valuable skill of knitting.

The girls were thrilled to hear that they received their own Girl's Club knitting needles and yarn, donated by avid and talented knitter, Joyce Zimmerman, the grandmother of Jackie Espana. The girls have discussed what knitting can give us, relaxation, a skill we can keep with us our whole life to make our own clothes, and a trade we can use to earn money. So far they have learned how to "cast on" their first row of stitches and how to do the basic knitting stitch. Every girl is making their own square as their first project. We can wait to post their final pieces!

A Message from Our Sisters in Kenya

Kibera like any other slum in the world harbours people of questionable characters. The life of a girl child is at risk here. Despite these girls having one or no parent at all and living at the mercies of well-wishes, they also have no deal with the risk of defilement and rape. They also have no idea what their rights are as children.

It is for this reasons that Pam Allyn, the founder of the Litworld came up with the idea of staring this club to help the girls realize that their place isn’t just in the kitchen. That they can brave all challenges and change this stereotyping.

Pilot girls from Red-rose Children Centre embraced this club and their wish to get to know what other girls around Kibera go through made us include girl s from other schools. The club whose operation commenced on 9th of April 2010 has so far had girls open up to talk about their personal life and experience.

Our first session was about “self awareness." Girl drew and made pictures of themselves and listed things they like and don’t like about themselves.

This was followed by a series of sessions on how to deal with anger and sexual abuse. On sexual abuse we talked to girls on what they should do in case of this, we also got a Children of KiberaFoundation Scholar, Abiba to talk about her journey to gaining a scholarship and the challenges she faced as a girl.

As the saying goes idle mind is a devil’s workshop. This is also to ensure that our girls are not idle. To end this one month’s journey, we took them to Nairobi Arboretum as an outdoor mental and physical activity. They sure had fun.

Our next sessions to be held on 8th and 10th May 2010 will be about health and sanitation. Everyone out there are welcomed to share with the girls.