Just yesterday we finished our week of celebrating Day of the Girl. The very foundation of our program is built upon the principle that girls have the power and potential to affect change and advance our world. As such, there is no better cause to celebrate than the Day of the Girl. An international recognition and celebration of girls and their enormous potential is a vital and central piece of our entire program. Full of moments of learning and powerful interactions, the week was truly amazing.
We began the week by learning about inspiring girls from all over the world. We learn about Malala from Pakistan (just in time for her interview on the Daily Show.) We were awed by Bethany Hamilton from the U.S and her story of perseverance. And we were truly wowed by Thandiwe from Zambia who, as an 8 year old, rallied 60 kids to march for education rights. Afterwards we engaged in conversations about why education is important to us and why it is important to have dreams. On Friday, the Day of the Girl, we watched (and loved!) the new SWB Video about our site and a short slide show, as a way to get girls’ thinking about what the program has meant for them. Then each girl was paired with a girl from a different age group. They interviewed each other about their past, present and future and decorated pictures about who they were as children, who they are now and who they want to be. They discussed some of their proudest moments and biggest fears and shared their dreams of going to university, playing on the national team, and becoming successful professionals. One of the most touching things for me was seeing my older girls, who so often are “too cool for school” working with the youngest 6 and 7 year olds. They instantly become very patient and great listeners and their interactions were both funny and poignant.
|Two of my favorites (shh I'm not supposed to say that..)|
|I want to have control of my future and provide for myself.|
|"I can be incredible."|
On Saturday we went out to the field and completed a number of super fun field day activities. Split into four teams of mixed ages, participants completed tasks like cross “lava” together on a sheet, a technical soccer skills ladder, an egg toss, and a wheelbarrow race. It was a blast, of course, but what made the events really special was that after each station, each team had to find a different quote from girls around the world, inspired by the Girl Declaration. At the end each team had collected seven quotes about the dreams and hopes of girls just like them. We then decorated posters with the quotes. Girls also added their own hopes and thoughts. “We have a right to play and a right to study,” wrote one girl. “Girls are strong,” wrote another.
The week in its entirety was all at once reflective, fun-filled, forward-looking, and most of all inspiring. It brought light to girls’ stories from all over the world, it bonded girls of different ages within the program, and provoked each participant to think about what is important to them, both right now and in their futures. It seemed that participants finished the week feeling empowered by their individual and collective strength as girls. All in all an amazing week.