Think back to the time your second grade teacher asked you the defining question: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Maybe you answered, ballerina. Firefighter. Doctor. Astronaut. Chef. The pink Power Ranger.
Regardless of how practical your answer was, whether you actually became a Power Ranger or not, in the moment, it was a possibility. There was no doubt that your dream could become a reality.
It’s a simple idea: empowering youth with the idea that anything can be possible. Dreams can be big. Hard work brings success. In a developing world, where many women are brought up to believe their defining role is in the kitchen and caring for children, many girls don’t dream beyond their village. It’s important they become empowered to believe that their futures are bright.
A group of 20 Peace Corps Volunteers are planning a National Girls Empowerment Camp to be held at the end of April 2016. Each Volunteer will bring five ambitious and smart young girls from their respective communities to attend a five-day conference in the capital, Antananarivo. The Girls Leading Our World, or GLOW, camp is partially funded by Michelle Obama’s Let Girls’ Learn initiative and will focus on issues relevant to adolescent girls, such as leadership development, self-efficacy, goal-setting and life-planning, including higher education and work.
Regional GLOW camps have been held across Madagascar for years but this is the first year multiple Malagasy ethnicity will be learning together. This camp aims to bridge the cultural gap that exists on the island as well as promote leadership development. In order to be successful, these young women must be aware of their current situation and challenges, of their goals and aspirations, and of their potential for success. It is important to be aware of their surrounding communities, too. These girls will return to their villages and act as role models and inspire other youth to make positive choices. With the tools to analyze themselves and their communities, they will be able to propose solutions to better themselves and those around them. GLOW Camp provides a proactive environment that focuses on individual development and social actions.
Through this national camp, the first of its kind, girls of different backgrounds will work together, support each other, learn about each other’s culture unique to their region, develop skills and commit to serving their community. In each of our communities, girls face a variety of obstacles related to their personal and professional development due to limited resources, assigned gender roles and lack of awareness to opportunities available to them. Girls become sexually active at a young age and often do not receive adequate education regarding sexual health and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. The promotion of a healthy lifestyle is essential for these girls to realize their life goals and the available resources available to help them fulfill those goals.
Female chaperones from each community will accompany the girls chosen to attend the camp. These women are role models for the girls can act as mentors for future life decisions. Malagasy counterparts from each community are also directly involved in the choosing of girls to attend and the organization process.
To make a direct impact on the lives of 100 Malagasy young women and their communities, please click the link below:
Misaotse aloha! Thank you in advance!