“After the gender equality training, I’ve seen a new ‘brand’ of love in our home,” Aisha told us, reflecting on her relationship with her husband of eight years, Abdallah. “Now he helps me prepare the food, we take care of the children together, and I help him run the business.”
Aisha and Abdallah are raising their three young children – with one more on the way – in the Wakiso district of Uganda. And while they’ve always shared a loving relationship, when Aisha heard about gender equality training from Canadian Feed The Children’s local partner HUYSLINCI, she had them sign up for it together.
“I knew it was important for me and Abdallah to actually attend such trainings because they are so beneficial. It opened our eyes and minds and taught us about how to amicably resolve conflicts and how to work together to grow our family’s well-being,” Aisha explained.
It’s a topic that is close to Aisha’s heart, because as a nursery teacher, she sees the challenges that families and married couples face in her community. There are high incidents of domestic violence, exacerbated by addictions to drugs and gambling. She knows that violent homes aren’t healthy for growing children either.
Aisha and Abdallah both wish there were greater supports for their community to improve family dynamics. One of the biggest problems their community faces, Abdallah believes, is that “men carry themselves as being more superior to women.”
A new kind of partnership
For Abdallah, the gender equality training helped shape the way he viewed his partnership with Aisha. And his neighbours have started to notice.
“I have realized that I ought to do much more at home,” he explained. “It is now fun when you find us cooking together, bathing the young ones, fetching the water, and amazingly – our neighbours who looked at it as strange at first, have begun to appreciate it. They admire us.”
Abdallah was also inspired by the training to involve Aisha in his small construction business and managing the household income – something he would often do on his own. Now she has equal say when they are making important decisions.
“Aisha has great ideas. We are now friendlier to each other. She trusts me more because she feels I am more open to her – and indeed, I am,” he said. “Now that I discuss my plans with her I feel good going to work because I know that she supports me.”
It was Aisha’s idea, for example, to join a village savings and loans group to better support their family. Abdallah is thankful for it – now they have access to small loans to invest in their business and children’s education.
Gender equality training strengthens families
With new commitments to joint decision-making, caring together for their children, and additional tools for healthy conflict resolution, Aisha and Abdallah feel like they’ve been given a new perception of what they want their family to look like.
They hope that they can continue to work hard to provide for their family, and that they will always have good health and a loving, happy marriage.
They also hope their actions can help influence others: “I have tried to talk to some of my friends, and have helped reconcile conflicts in two neighbouring families. I strongly believe that we need a mass village training on gender equality,” Abdallah insisted.
Aisha is proud to have a husband like Abdallah. “Thank you for being such a loving husband,” she said to him, sitting next to us. “Thanks for loving me and our children.”
When Abdallah was asked what he loves most about Aisha, he responded: “Oooh, do you think we are going to spend the whole day here?”, laughing.
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