Second part of our 2 part series on post-Summer serve and learn reflection blogs. This time we reflect on this year’ s Girls’ Empowerment Camp.
“Who run the World!? – GIRLS RUN THE WORLD!!!”
This was the slogan of this year’s camp and it was both heart-warming and inspiring to hear the participants shouting it out loud all together!
Girls’ Empowerment Camp 2016 Volunteers, left to right; Camille, Dana and Whitney.
Girls’ Empowerment Camp 2016 was a full-packed 2 week session and as a GHEI first, we had the most participants ever, a record 26 girls! The Camp started off with a bang with the opening ceremony where the participants performed songs, dances and educational skits. We had a great audience turn out; by the end of the night the community centre was packed full! It was also a chance for the volunteers to meet the participants and for the community to be introduced to them too.
Whitney, Dana and Camille were our 3 fantastic international volunteers that came to join us, helping to run the camp and coordinate sessions. Although there were only 3 of the volunteers, they did a great job in leading and supporting the sessions.
The first session was on self-motivation and self-confidence, where the participants were asked to read different quotes and to explain them in their own words. Volunteer Whitney ended the session by reciting Maya Angelou’s poem, ‘Phenomenal Women’.
Camp participants during the session…before the realized what the balloons meant!
For the family planning session, hilarity ensued when the campers were asked to get into groups and pick up as many balloons as they liked. The girls rushed and gleefully picked up as many as they could carry! The mood changed, however, when the volunteers explained that we were now going to play the ‘game of life’ and the number of balloons the girls picked up meant the number of children their group needed to care for an
d financially support. The campers immediately tried to return the balloons and some even started to pop them! As part of the game, the groups were given money to support their families for food, education and hospital bills, as soon as a team was out of money, they were out. The girls soon figured out that the money given was not enough to pay for all their family members. We then followed up this game with a discussion on future families and family planning methods.
The session on safe sex included a condom demonstration led by the volunteers and GHEI’s Aggie, this was followed by a visit from two health workers from the Humjibre clinic who took time to speak to the girls about safe sex and answered their questions that the girls had written anonymously.
Humjibre native, Madame Comfort, talking to the GE participants about business and money management.
We also had another guest speaker come to talk to the campers for the session on business and money management. Madame Comfort, local bar-owner, kindergarten teacher and GHEI library board member came to talk to the girls about being successful in business and to answer any questions. For the 26 extremely chatty campers, it was amazing to watch them sitting in silence listening intently to Comfort, who commanded their attention.
The last session, on leadership and self-esteem, we had another inspiring Maya Angelou poem. This time, the girls themselves took turns to recite lines from the moving ‘And Still I Rise’. It was touching to see how enthusiastic the girls were when reading and reciting the poem, some even asked for copies of it afterwards!
Volunteer Dana (left) and GHEI’s Health Program Coordinator, Sonia, (front) making friendship bracelets with the participants.
Some of the highlights of the camp were watching the volunteers and staff teach the participants how to make friendship bracelets. The girls loved this activity and before each session started, they took the time to work on their bracelets. We also enjoyed taking the campers to a radio station in nearby Wiawso to talk about girls’ empowerment. At Unique FM, the girls sang some of their songs from the opening ceremony and got a chance to talk about who they want to be in the future. Felicity from GHEI and Whitney spoke about why the Camp is so important to the girls and for the local community.
GHEI’s Felicity Yaa Pomah talking to the radio station, Unique FM, in Wiawso about the Girls’ Empowerment Camp.
We finished the Girls’ Empowerment Camp with a closing ceremony where the volunteers, staff and campers shared a huge dinner together and sang and danced. GHEI handed out certificates to all of the participants and awards to the volunteers and staff for all of their hard work!
It was so touching at the closing ceremony to see all of the girls shouting out the camp slogan and I really hoped, looking at all of the girls’ excited faces, that the camp made a difference. That one day, these girls really can run the world!
Find out more about our Summer Serve and Learn sessions here.