Championing healthy relationships

and sexual wellbeing

Challenging taboo in DR Congo

My name is Esther and I am 13 years old. Before I came into contact with ACET DRC, I was ashamed to talk to adults. I had things I could not tell Mum, or Dad, and I did not have many friends in the neighbourhood.

At the ACET DRC girls’ club, the life education teacher talked to us about respect for life and other things about relationships between boys and girls. In addition, my mother was trained in a seminar on HIV and AIDS. Mum now often brings us together to talk about sexual health.

I had a lot of advice regarding relationships. I understand why I have menstruation every month and how to manage my sanitary tapes. I also help my friends because many parents do not talk about these things to their children. It's taboo here to talk about such things at home.

One day my teacher asked my class mate to go to the blackboard to solve an exercise. When my friend got up to go to the board, I noticed that her skirt was stained with blood. I asked her to answer without going to the board. The teacher wondered why I was interceding, so I told the teacher. She understood and she sent my friend to the office to change.

My class mate had never heard of menstruation and was ashamed to talk to her parents. She did not understand why she should talk about it. I told her about the lessons we learn at the girls' club, I explained to her what is said at the club and what my mother explains to me at home. After this event, our class teacher sent all the girls in the class to participate in the activities of the ACET DRC girls’ club.

The lessons at the club are good. Now, I tell my parents many things that I learn. I am no longer ashamed. I see that ACET DRC is concerned to see the lives of people changed, to help youth be more responsible. They do not condemn. They listen, help you understand your problem and look for the solution from the knowledge they offer you.

I now love conversations with mum, this encourages me a lot. My mum has become my best friend.

Read more about the work of ACET DRC