“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud” -Coco Chanel
I coordinated a Camp GLOW: Girls Leading Our World, in my local community where we focused on character development, health/healthy living and professional development. Camp GLOW is a PEPFAR and Peace Corps initiative, they hold large regional camps annually in Kenya. I applied for a grant through World Connect to host a local GLOW in my community.
You might remember a few of my students were selected to attend Peace Corps Kenya’s Western Region GLOW. In the regional camps each volunteer can nominate 2-3 students to attend. My students came back and the hundreds that remained wondered why they didn’t have the opportunity. I’ve never had a project feel so necessary. I’m happy I was able to host a project encouraged by my community.
130 girl students ranging from ages 10-19
9 participating schools
5 days to impart knowledge and have a ton of fun
6 volunteer trainers who lead sessions for 3 days
6 community professionals who participated in the career panel
160 bed nets distributed/sold in a community where finding nets is a challenge unless you’re pregnant.
96 bottles of water guard distributed to encourage clean water practices
The stats above are some quantifiable measures of what I was able to achieve with help from my fellow volunteers and community members.
Day 1: Registration
Day 2: Character Development
- Self Esteem and Body Image
- Peer Pressure
- Self Expression Art Project/Self-Portraits
- Gender Roles
Day 3: Health
- Menstruation and Reusable Sanitary Pads
- Healthy Relationships
Day 4: Professional Development
- Goal Setting and Vision Boards
- Crafts/Developing Skills to Create Goods
- Career Panel
Day 5: Community Presentation Day
- Student testimonials
- Art Presentation
- Speech: Area Representative
- Speech: Area Chief
- Health Presentation: Water and Sanitation
- Health Presentation: Malaria Prevention
- Pineapple Eating Contest
- Presentation of Awards
I heard of the transformation that occurs during Camp GLOW. I feel so privileged to have seen these girls come out of their shells, find their voices, and work on their talents. I transformed as well.
I don’t want to paint a picture of helpless girls and women. I don’t think I could if I tried. These girls and women who carry water and firewood for miles, who work in farms and care for cattle, who are in charge of the families health and nutrition and sanitation, these girls are strong. Their schedules are intense and usually start before the sun rises. However, when you try to understand the stagnation in their ability to be as successful as they have the potential to be you can look to some limitations placed on them by societal gender roles, lack of education and education opportunities, lack of resources, lack of an accurate account of their self worth.
I never want to forget a moment of the time I had with them.