Where Drumming and Sex Ed Meet in El Salvador
November 16, 2010
About an hour northwest of San Salvador, in the small community of Ciudadela, a group of high school girls meets to do two things: to discuss sexual and reproductive rights, and to play the drums. They attend trainings on how to educate their female peers about pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS, the rights of women to make decisions that affect their bodies, and the right to enjoy one’s sexuality. And then they rehearse as the Sihua Batucada, the only all female youth drum band in the country of El Salvador. The poise, strength, and intelligence of these young women took my breath away and brought me to the edge of tears. A few minutes with these girls will remind even the most cynical that another world is indeed possible.
On my recent trip to El Salvador, I had the opportunity to meet with just five of the fifteen of these young women who are part of a youth leadership and development project supported by SHARE and the Salvadoran women’s organization IMU. The girls explained the program to us—they receive training on important sexual and reproductive issues that affect women and girls, and then they commit to training at least 3 other female peers in their community. As an integral part of the leadership development component, they have formed the batucada (drum band). According to the girls, being part of the batucada boosts their confidence and reinforces their sense of belonging to a team. One girl explained that her new self-assurance helps her in talking to the peers she trains. Another stated that playing music is a way to for her to enjoy her sexuality in a safe space. A third said “It feels really good to be really good at something.” Read More »