Meet Erica & Hannah, junior high school students and Girl’s Empowerment participants
The Girls’ Empowerment Camp has been organized every summer by GHEI since 2016. The camp is organized for local junior high school girls, who get the opportunity to participate in workshops delving into different themes relating to girls’ empowerment. Over the course of two weeks, a group of international volunteers works together with local GHEI staff to share knowledge and to give the girls the opportunity to reflect on their futures in a new and broader context.
Erica, 15 years old, and Hannah, 16 years old, heard about the camp through an announcement that was held at their school.
Erica (left) and Hannah (right) on the GHEI compound
“I decided to sign up to improve my confidence”, says Hannah.
“We heard about it from girls who participated last year and we wanted to know what it was all about”, Ericka adds.
Every girl in Humjibre who just finished junior high school can sign up for the Girls’ Empowerment Camp. Erica and Hannah, who both attended the Anglican School, were part of a group of almost forty girls who participated this year. Girls from the Anglican and District Assembly junior high schools were present, ranging in age from 14 to 16 years old. From July 25th until August 5th, the girls met daily with the volunteers and GHEI staff, who had prepared multiple workshops for them.
“My favorite workshop was the one about leadership”, says Hannah.
The aim of this workshop was to encourage girls to identify and develop their leadership skills. During the session, all the participating girls defined what qualities constitute good leadership. Next, they engaged in self-evaluation to determine which qualities they have and which ones they want to improve. A personal action plan was developed at the end of the session.
Left: Erica during the motivation & self-esteem workshop. The glitter on her face is left over from the pre-session folder-making activity. Right: Hannah stirring the liquid soap during the soap-making activity.
Both girls have just finished junior high school and will attend senior high school after the summer. Erica wants to be a journalist once she finishes her studies, while Hannah plans to be a doctor. The girls think that the things they learned in the Girls’ Empowerment workshops will help them to achieve these goals.
“The decision-making session and the one about money management & family planning are very useful”, Hannah and Erica agree.
In the latter one, the girls engage in an exercise called ‘The Game of Life’. In this simulation exercise, the girls are paired up and act like a couple. All couples have a number of different cards that list how many children they have and what kinds of challenges they face. Then they have to make decisions using the money that is available to them. Will all their children go to school? Can they afford to take a sick child to the hospital? Can they afford household expenses?
“The Game of Life was difficult”, says Erica. “Some had so many children and then there were so many challenges, some got sick and only some could go to school.”
The aim of the simulation was to learn about family planning from a money management-perspective.
The girls, volunteers and local GHEI staff on the last day of the Girls' Empowerment Camp
When asked if they would recommend girls next year to sign up for the Girls’ Empowerment Camp, both nod in agreement.
“Beforehand, we thought they would teach us only a few small things but they taught us a lot more, which was really good. I want other girls to also know all the things we were taught”, says Hannah.
Erica adds: “I wish it would have lasted longer”.