All posts tagged: Girls

The Importance of Having a Role Model/Mentor

“Why is she here, working with us boys? Shouldn’t she be somewhere else? How is she better than us?” As a woman working in a male-dominant field, I can’t help but think of the moments when I felt insecure about myself or watched other people whisper directly behind my back. It becomes even more difficult when there is no other woman in the environment that I am working for who has similar goals as I do. Fortunately, I found my role model when I was 14. Even though she did not have the same career aspirations as I did, her geeky personality and her infectious ambition resonated with me. Since then, I have shifted from worrying about what others think about me to making my dreams come true. Finding a role model that suits you certainly takes some patience and effort. Yet, the benefits of finding one are huge: It helps you stay grounded in your dreams and maybe even feel a lot less lonely along the way. I believe it is important for girls to find a …

The Most Amazing Week

Although Zambia developed the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act in 2011, Gender Based Violence (GBV) still persists at high rates today in Zambia, deeply entrenched in Zambian culture and norms. Out of the Southern African countries, Zambia ranks unfortunately high for GBV prevalence with 72% of women experiencing GBV in a lifetime and high associations between GBV and HIV positive status. As a result, young girls living in Zambia face a myriad of challenges. Pressures from emerging womanhood, boys, and social media can force girls to experiment with their bodies and sexuality, though they may lack education and resources on safe and safer sex. Additionally, girls that come from poorer areas or families might not be able to negotiate or decline early childhood marriage. All of the unique pressures that girls face in their adolescence puts them at additional risk for HIV. To address this, the Zambia Centre for Communication Programmes (ZCCP), in partnership with Peace Corps, is running Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) camps across Zambia to educate and empower female youth by teaching them …

Girls’ Camp: Creating the Leaders of Tomorrow

By Stephanie Vizi Seventy-five grade seven girls from across Lesotho gathered at Help Lesotho’s Hlotse Centre for a week-long leadership camp last June. The girls took part in life skills trainings, which focused on preventing teenage pregnancy, rape and HIV/AIDS. Help Lesotho staff facilitated sessions on the most critical issues facing young girls in Lesotho, such as rape, the lure of sugar daddies (rich older men who lavish gifts on a young woman in return for her company or sexual favours) and gender inequality. After days of trainings, the girls demonstrated their new knowledge through self-written skits, poetry and songs. They showed the consequences of inappropriate sexual relationships (STIs, HIV and early pregnancy) while exuding confidence and a newfound sense of purpose to spread the lessons of gender equality to girls back home in their villages. A daily question and answer period provided a chance for the girls to ask pressing questions anonymously to seasoned Help Lesotho experts. Spreading the Message A 24-year-old HIV-positive mother was invited to share about her experience with gender-based violence, …

Girls and Sport: Bridging the Gap

In the highly rewarding journey of asserting girls rights and empowering girls, everything counts. Thus, it is unacceptable that “Sport” is often overlooked in strategic frameworks and programmatic engagements, as a cross-cutting developmental platform for girls. Against the backdrop of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada, there cannot be a better time to advocate for more girls to appear on the field in order to discover their potentials and enhance groundbreaking performance off the field. Many individuals who participate in active sports, struggle to express the incredible feeling that envelopes them when they win. Whether it is scoring an unexpected goal, making a formidable pass or completing a challenging marathon, the “can do it” attitude that accompanies optimum participation in sport is indeed one of a kind. This is in addition to the innumerable physical, mental and health dividends of sporting. Despite the game-changing nature of sport, it is interesting that girls and sport are rarely mentioned within the same context. Backed by age-long socio-cultural stereotypes, many girls who manifest keen interest in …

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

Paige McKenzie, young author and YouTube phenom, recently released her first book. Based on her incredibly successful YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl tells the story of Sunshine, a 16-year-old girl living in a haunted house.  Described as “Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity,” The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is certain to delight readers young and old. A few weeks ago, I had the fantastic opportunity to read Paige’s book and I can say with confidence you will not be disappointed. Afterwards, I spoke with Paige about her book and her plans for the future. Find out what she had to say below: Q: You started your YouTube channel four years ago, a channel which now has over 250,000 subscribers and over 132 million views. What inspired you to create a fictional web series about ghosts? Did you ever expect your channel to have such a large following? A: I knew I had something special with the views (and the comments!) started rolling in. I was cautiously optimistic when I started. Now I am looking forward to the continued growth and …

World Water Day: Clean Water is Only the Beginning

Written by Suzy Vickers, Public Relations Manager, WaterAid ​This morning 13-year-old Ze got up and went to school. This might not sound very remarkable, 13-year-olds girls go to school all the time, don’t they? For Ze, this was a truly momentous day. I met Ze a year ago in her remote village of Antohobe in Madagascar. Perched a mile up in the highlands, our Landover lurched from side to side as we climbed the steep dirt tracks to her home. I could see why the village name means ‘a place with a view’. When I arrived I was immediately struck by two young girls – Solo and Ze. Bright, chatty and confident, these best friends were eager to show me where they lived. They had few belongings, just one toy between them, a cherished doll they delighted in playing with. Their home was a simple two story building, with livestock kept on the first floor. Conversation took a more somber tone when they explained their daily chores to me. These young teenage girls had to worry …

When Time Stood Still: A Story of Courage, Survival, and Healing

Once in a while a book comes around that will have a profound impact on the lives of others. In a rare combination of personal reflection and professional insight, When Time Stood Still is a book that will not only assist in the healing of survivors, but also in public acknowledgement and understanding of childhood sexual abuse. ​The prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine in the world, as many victims are too young or vulnerable to disclose the experience. According to the Children Assessment Centre (CAC), an estimated 500,000 children were born in the US in 2014 will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Statistics available state that child rape occurs every two minutes and that 90 percent of molesters abuse children they know. Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18. This translates to more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse living in the US. When Time Stood Still is a rare experience, …

The Women of ISIS

One of the most frequently mentioned names in the news today is ISIS, the extremist Islamic group that has seized international attention through acts of unusual barbarity, often filmed and distributed as terrorist propaganda. ISIS is not merely an extremist minority, but a powerful network of organized militants who control large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria, and is quickly spreading to other parts of the world. ​ISIS’s culture of fear and control is not only aimed at the West, but at the citizens of the areas they have claimed. Women in particular have become targets under ISIS’s strict edicts, with their expectations and roles strictly defined by extremist ideology. A manifesto published by the group, written with the aim of outlining the role of women, gives a glimpse into life under ISIS rule. Though it deviates somewhat from a radical portrayal of Islamic laws – women are allowed a limited amount of education, are allowed unescorted out of the house under specific conditions, and are provided for in the case of widowhood – it …

The Young Women of Tutorial High

I met Walterine during my Baltimore to Guyana layover in the Panama City airport. Seeing that I was reading a Guyana guidebook, Walterine, a proud Guyanese, excitedly sat down next to me and began asking about my trip and my plans while in Guyana. ​I explained to Walterine that I worked with Girls’ Globe and would be speaking with women and girls at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). Coincidentally (and serendipitously), Walterine worked as the principal of a local high school. Loving the Girls’ Globe mission, she invited me to visit her school and speak to her girls about women’s and girls’ empowerment. Happily, I accepted. Last week, I had the fantastic opportunity to work with 200 young women (aged 13-14) at Tutorial High School. Not only were students engaged and excited to share their ideas about gender equality, but they also were incredibly knowledgeable about gender-related issues. After telling the girls a little bit about myself and about Girls’ Globe, I gave a brief introduction about why ensuring gender equality and empowering young girls is crucial for …

Women Inspire: Dr. Priscilla Joseph

This post is the fourth in a series of interviews from women and girls at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) in Georgetown, Guyana. I’m here in Georgetown, Guyana to conduct interviews with inspiring women and girls and to listen to their stories. Recently, I met Dr. Priscilla Joseph, 30, in the GPHC emergency department. A role model for girls around the world, Priscilla filled me in on why she wanted to become a doctor and who inspires her. What made you interested in becoming a doctor? A: I wanted to be a doctor because I love helping people. My parents were also a great influence in my life because they recognized my interest and wholeheartedly supported and emphasized the importance of education in life – but particularly in order to become a nurse. What is your favorite part about being a doctor? A: In my opinion, seeing the successful health outcomes and seeing patients survive traumatic accidents and illness is the greatest part about being a doctor. Who inspires you and why? A: When …