Empowering Girls

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About the project

This project – called ‘Blijf van mijn lijfje’ – is part of Hope for Girls, a project supported by Annemie Struyf and Lieve Blancquaert. The Visa Academy, situated in Kuria (Western Kenya), was start up by Tobias and Amina, a Kenyan couple. Their goal? To give young girls the chance to escape female genital mutilation. The Visa Academy doesn’t only provide shelter, the girls also get education. Thanks to the Academy, young girls are empowered to become strong women. 

Since more than 10 years, female genital mutilation is officially forbidden in Kenya. Unfortunately, the reality tells something different. The genital mutilation of young girls still happens on a large scale. Almost every Kenyan girl is circumcised. If they’re not, their chances to find a husband are reduced to almost zero. As many Kenyans live in extreme poverty, the dowry is an important source of income. So, female mutilation is actually some sort of economic survival. 

As from the moment of circumcision, girls are married off and they no longer go to school. Besides that, circumcision increases the risk both on physical problems – like infections, aids and problems during pregnancy – and psychological problems

The fight of Tobias and Amina is long and difficult, but brave. Except from providing shelter and education, they’re working about prevention and awareness of the risks of genital mutilation

Role of imec

A couple of years ago imec became involved in Hope for Girls. We believe that investing in Visa Academy plays a direct role in breaking the cycle of poverty across generations and is vital in the girls' emotional and social development while providing them with opportunities for the future. By supporting this project, we can help empower African girls, give them the chance to study, to break the genital mutilation cycle, and eventually become a role model for their community.

Results so far

At this moment, imec employees are supporting 20 girls. In 2016, imec also installed a computer class in the Visa Academy as part of the Close the Gap project. It was the first computer class ever in Kuria, an area as large as Flanders. RVO Society – housed in the imec tower – has also committed to providing the school with hands-on material for technology education.

  • Do you want to support the project?

    If you'd like to support this project, you can donate money to Via Don Bosco mentioning  "5304 imec scholarship sponsoring".​

    Via Don Bosco
    IBAN BE84 4358 0341 0159
    BIC KREDBEBB 

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