The Kenya High School Club has been World Youth Alliance Africa’s longest standing high school club, with a membership of almost 50 students at a time, who are ever so willing to engage with WYA’s ideas and learn more. During one of the club meetings, we had an enlightening discussion with the students, where we looked at human dignity in a practical way by sharing human dignity stories.
The first story that the girls shared was based on an experience in Kenya, where they drew some valuable lessons, emphasizing that human dignity when applied is valuing people’s worth, no matter the tribe and should encourage us to care for one another as brothers and sisters. We looked at the post-election violence (PEV) in 2007/2008 where the girls highlighted that during this time some people did not reflect care for others in a way that upholds human dignity. The girls highlighted that human dignity brings development of a people hence we are not fighting each other but agreeing together. Human Dignity reduces tribalism, nepotism, and racism. Human dignity leads to the promotion of culture hence we respect each other’s culture.
The second story we looked at was that of an Albino child, who was discriminated by parents and even other children in a children’s home. The girls highlighted that albinism is a condition that should be understood and those living with it should be given an opportunity to be valuable members of the community. Here we emphasized that human dignity is self-worth, how one takes themselves and the importance and value that they give to another person. The girls pointed out that people with disabilities need to be given human dignity too, this will also safeguard against things like suicide for lack of societal acceptance. We concluded this story with the affirmation that if I have dignity it means there are things I cannot do to others; because it would violate their dignity. The girls mentioned Jessica Cox, the pilot without hands.
The third story was that of a girl who was born out of marriage and raised by a single parent, a mother who had no value for her. At the end of her primary education, she needed school fees to further her education and she decided not to go to the avenues that other girls would use to become a sex worker that even her mother suggested. She came across a competition for writers and she applied and wrote an excellent poem, that saw her come out among the best applicants earning herself a scholarship to study abroad. She inspires others especially young women to know their value and become better people in society. We concluded that human dignity begins from oneself and can be a source of building a society, for example, women can become engineers, doctors, and teachers.
The fourth story looked at bullying, where there was a girl who was not liked by everyone in the school. One day her friends told her that she was fat and no one would ever like her. She began to stop eating and make herself vomit but she was rescued when she was rescued when she had suicidal thoughts and taken to a centre to have a better view of life. We proposed a solution to this through guidance and counselling in a school set up at government level policies for people who for example mistreat others.
We discussed how human dignity brings about no discrimination based on religion, age, gender & cultural background. Here the girls shared the fifth story about a boy who had 2 sexual organs from birth, he used to hide and not let others see him when he showers. However, having grown up as a boy he begun his period in class and rather than going home, he hid and committed suicide. We emphasized that a solution to this is to create groups to sensitize people on this special group of people and how to ensure they live in dignity despite the natural circumstance that made them different. We also looked at how conditioning plays a role in upbringing with an example of a child brought up with a mentality that could distort their worldview. Finally, we looked at a current issue then, where there were people being killed in Aleppo, Syria based on their religion. We concluded that it is important to learn to live in a multifaceted society.
The facilitators during this discussion, were Pamella, Daniella, and Patricia from the WYA Africa Office. The students were from form 1 to form 3, working in groups to come up with the amazing stories.
WYA Africa looks forward to an engaging 2018 with the Kenya High Girls School Club.