Coming off a high point from our 2013 Camp Girl Power, the first half of 2014 has proven to be just as successful! Just Like My Child Foundation (JLMC) recently hosted a camp for 10 of our newest Girl Power trained communities. Girl Power Camps are an unparalleled opportunity for adolescent girls who have excelled in the first two phases of The Girl Power Project ® to come together with their peers to build friendships, share what they’ve learned, and dive even further into the program.
Everyone, including our facilitators and staff, agreed this camp was the best that JLMC has put on so far! It brought together over 100 girls who made the most of their time together by carrying out dramatizations, debates, small group discussions, and presentations. The girls demonstrated a high level of confidence and understanding of the curriculum, participated strongly in all activities, and had so much fun meeting new people and seeing familiar faces too!
One of the most powerful aspects of the camp is the campfire storytelling activity, where girls are given the time and space to share sincere testimonies of how Girl Power has impacted them. This activity is aimed at helping girls to understand the challenges their fellow peers have faced and how they have managed to address them. Three poignant stories that were shared amongst the camp goers that night demonstrate the power of The Girl Power Project®:
Blessing, a 13-year-old girl, was self-proclaimed head-over-heals in love with a boy, James. She was mesmerized with his romance, gifts, and sweet talk. After attending the Girl Power Project mentoring sessions, Blessing had a wake-up call and realized that love cannot be a priority right now. She understood the risks of pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and early marriage so she called the romance with James off. When he tried to get her back numerous times, she still held her ground and said no. She would save romance for a later time.
Josephine, a 12-year-old girl in elementary school, had a much older boyfriend, Dennis, who was in high school. Josephine’s brother had instigated the relationship between the two of them and helped facilitate correspondence since they were geographically separated. After her first Girl Power training, Josephine had a better understanding of what was really happening. She told her brother she didn’t want to be with Dennis anymore, but he insisted that she stay with him because of the money and gifts she was receiving. Josephine still held her ground and called off the relationship.
Every morning 10-year-old Evelyn walked to elementary school and the same motorcycle taxi (boda) driver came by and asked if she wanted a ride. The driver never made her pay. One day, the driver stopped before dropping her off and asked her for sex, saying “you thought I always take you for nothing in return?” Evelyn said no to this man and decided to walk home instead of finishing the taxi ride.
Girls who attend the Girl Power trainings are taught about the danger of receiving gifts and a man’s typical motive for giving them within their context. Girls at this campfire understood that taking money, food, and candy were risky and threatening gifts, but Evelyn's story awoke many of the girls and even teachers at the camp who didn't know that gifts of free rides could lead to a dangerous situation.
The camp not only provided girls with a chance to share their life stories and come together as a collective whole to address issues they face in their communities, it provided a chance for a handful of parents to better understand the Girl Power Project. When talking to the parents at the camp, they gratefully expressed sincere appreciation for boosting their girls’ confidence and teaching them important social survival skills. Many parents wished they had this training at such a critical time of crossroads as an adolescent but were so happy their daughters would learn and pass the information down to their children. It was a truly spectacular event!
We want to send a special thanks to the Plan International Uganda Team for traveling several hours from the capital city to witness The Girl Power Project ® in action in our rural communities. We truly appreciate you being part of such an important day in the lives of our girls and in the project as a whole! And also much appreciation is owed to our phenomenal Ugandan team who tirelessly executed this camp in a new village! We extend our utmost gratitude to our partners, The Collective Heart and Feminine Power whose commitment, love, and support have helped to make this project possible.
We especially want to thank all of you who have given what you can to make this camp possible! Every little bit helps! We hope you will continue to follow our exciting progress and be a critical part of JLMC’s Girl Power Project movement! We encourage you to click on all of the links we have provided and share not only our story and videos with others who may wish to get involved, but also your story! We would love to hear about why you are moved to support The Girl Power Project! Share your stories here and we will feature our favorites on our Facebook wall!
Just Like My Child Foundation (JLMC) recently held its second annual Camp Girl Power in rural Uganda!! The camp is an unparalleled opportunity for adolescent girls and boys who have excelled in the first two phases of The Girl Power Project ® to come together with their peers.
We are proud to announce that Camp Girl Power 2013 was successfully facilitated by the project’s superstar 2012 graduates! Just two years ago these girls could not look our team in the eyes or shake our hands because of an ingrained culture of submissiveness, which puts girls in this context at great risk for sexual violence. We are thrilled to report that we witnessed these same young ladies, now Girl Power peer mentors, stand up boldly with microphones in hand leading Camp Girl Power for over 100 of their peers with confidence and determination!! It was an incredible success and we applaud their courageousness and leadership!
The two-day roll up your sleeves camp provided a space for Girl Power participants to celebrate their social survival skills and demonstrate what they’ve learned. It brought together over 160 adolescents who made the most of their time together by carrying out dramatizations, debates, small group discussions and presentations. In the evening they all settled in around the campfire to give personal testimony to the positive impact The Girl Power Project has had on their lives and the lives of those around them.
The participants graduated as Girl Power Peer Mentors on the second day of the camp and got the special treat of receiving their credentials directly from Vivian Glyck, Founder and Executive Director of JLMC! Girl Power Project Participants who shined extra bright amongst the group of superstars received backpacks filled with learning materials for the upcoming school term. St. Joseph Magogo, one of JLMC’s schools, was honored with a gift of a goat for being an exemplary supporter and model of Girl Power.
The camp concluded with a phenomenal dance performance and ballad from St. Joseph Magogo featuring 15-year-old Timyra Joi, an extremely talented young American singer, who bravely traveled with JLMC to Uganda to see The Girl Power Project in action first hand! You may recognize Timyra from NBC’s The Voice.
We want to acknowledge our amazing team of Ugandan colleagues for pulling off an astonishing Camp Girl Power, which required impeccable orchestration, and the fulfillment of hundreds of details to make sure the program was effective, fun, and most importantly, that the kids were safe, cared for, and had a life-changing experience.
Special thanks to Timyra Joi for braving the unknown at such a young age and to CNN ireporter, Chris Morrow for trekking across the world with us to capture this important event! Team JLMC is so grateful and proud to have hosted both of them and we hope the memories last them a lifetime!
We especially want to thank all of those who have dug into their pocket books to make this camp possible!! We hope you will continue to follow our exciting progress and be a critical part of JLMC’s Girl Power Project movement!! We encourage you to click on all of the links we have provided and share our story and videos with others who may wish to get involved!
We extend our continuing gratitude to our partners, The Collective Heart and Feminine Power whose commitment; love and support have helped to make this project possible. Together, we are doing amazing and essential work!
Members of The Girl Power Project™ in rural Uganda have been hard at work gearing up for Just Like My Child Foundation’s (JLMC) second annual Camp Girl Power!
The top ten performing peer mentors who graduated from the camp last year are busy organizing logistics and activities as they will be the facilitators of the camp for the first time this year! This responsibility provides a chance for them to further practice thier leadership and communication skills. The JLMC team is eagerly anticipating what is sure to be a phenomenal camp program developed by these now seasoned participants.
Throughout the course of 2013, the newest members of the Girl Power Project™ have displayed improved assertiveness, willingness to contribute in group discussions, presentation skills and peer cooperation. They have reported being very excited to attend the camp for the first time where they will get an opportunity to demonstrate their new found skills in front of participants from other schools, compete for top prizes and graduate as peer mentors themselves. It is no wonder the enthusiasm after word quickly spread last year about what a great time the camp turned out to be!
We want to include you in the fun as well, so be sure to tune in soon for our upcoming report on Camp Girl Power 2013!! We hope you will continue to follow our exciting progress and be a critical part of Just Like My Child Foundation's Girl Power Project™ movement!!
We extend our continuing gratitude to our partners, The Collective Heart and Feminine Power whose committment, love and support have helped to make this project possible. Together, we are doing amazing and essential work!!
The Just Like My Child team has embarked on a new round of Girl Power Project™ training in 2013. An exciting new component of this year’s program involves training girls who participated in last year’s activities on how to be peer mentors, in order to strengthen their leadership skills and create sustainability and continuity for this very enriching program in their schools and communities.
One activity we conducted this year was a combined peer-mentoring workshop for girls and boys from two of the active primary school communities that we have been working with; St. Joseph Magogo and St. Kizito Giryadde. Upon first hearing the term “peer mentors”, the kids were a little puzzled as to what it really meant for them. Our Girl Power facilitators explained that they would be teachers for young children (their peers), sharing knowleadge and coaching them on life skills, healthy relationships, sex education and leadership. Knowing more about peer mentoring made them very excited; just the thought of being a teacher and leader whilst still in primary school is rare and a special honor in Uganda.
As the workshop progressed, the girls and boys began to fully understand exactly why they were perfect for the job of mentoring their peers. However, they had their doubts and fears on how all this would work out. They had a long list of questions. What if my mentee is not interested in what I have to say? What if my mentee does not listen to me and keeps doing the wrong things over and over?
In a separate workshop at Namumira Primary School, the girls seemed to have it all figured out as they quickly pointed out possible solutions to these doubts and fears. They suggested to the Just Like My Child team that their work as peer mentors might be easier if their potential mentees were given training on peer mentor and mentee relationships and then only those children who show interest in having a mentor become part of the program. Also, the girls asked that they be formally introduced in the school as valid peer mentors. That way they would not be undermined, but respected and given a chance to do their jobs right.
After this first round of Girl Power Project™ Peer Mentoring training, we can gladly say that Just Like My Child Foundation has been able to turn around a somewhat doubtful future for teenage girls in a very remote area of Uganda. These girls now have a brighter future since they feel more empowered to believe in themselves and their ability to reach their fullest potential.
We hope you will continue to follow our exciting progress and be a critical part of Just Like My Child Foundation's Girl Power Project™ movement!!
We extend our continuing gratitude to our partners, The Collective Heart and Feminine Power. Together, we are doing amazing and essential work!!
Just Like My Child Foundation's Girl Power Project helps youth visualize their futures and dream big, a first step in goal planning. Girls were given poster board to map out their plans, tell their stories and illustrate their dreams in creative ways.
Nabatanzi Joan’s headline on her poster board read “I want to become a truthful lawyer.” She listed as a role model Julia Sebutinde, a lawyer for the international courts, who, according to Joan, speaks the truth. At the bottom of her poster board she states, “I want to promote justice in the world so that we may live in harmony if supported.”
Another superstar Girl Power participant called Namayanja Joan wants to be a football (soccer) player when she grows up, and drew a really great drawing of a girl in a football uniform kicking a soccer ball. Her dream is to go to Barcelona, Spain and play in the big leagues, a women’s soccer league called Barcelona (W.T.). She went on to express that “if I come back to Africa, I want to start up the teens’ [soccer] team.” She also has dreams of building a house for her mother and brother, and helping orphans by taking them to school, giving them food and clothing. Her role model is Messi, “he is the best footballer in the world; he has got all the techniques! How I wish I could play like him.”
Other girls stated they want to become doctors, musicians, lab techs, farmers, nurses, nuns, foresters, journalists, neurosurgeons, teachers, principles, hair stylists, and more. Some of the role models they listed were teachers, parents, popular Ugandan music artists, William Shakespeare, and influential doctors, teachers and other professionals in their lives.
Coming from poor rural villages, these girls have many obstacles in their way. University fees are expensive. Tradition may force girls to marry and have children early, which may delay or prevent them from reaching their dreams. Some may not even be able to complete middle school or afford to go to high school. However, with the help of Girl Power the girls seemed very determined to continue studying and developing skills that will help them overcome these challenges. They’ve identified the positive role models in their lives who can help them out, and they’ve got their mind maps to help them stay on track to realizing their dream.
We hope you continue to be a part of Just Like My Child Foundation’s Girl Power Project movement!! We extend our continuing gratitude to our partners, The collective Heart and Feminine Power. Together, we are doing amazing work!!
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