Girls Rising is an empowerment group started by girls at Caye Caulker Ocean Academy and part of the UN Girl Up movement. The club started as FLC (Female Leadership Community) with a focus on exploring emotions through journal writing. Now the girls want to invite guest speakers on topics such as self-esteem, domestic violence, communication skills and also financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
Many Belizean girls never enroll in high school. Those who do often drop out due to teen pregnancy, lack of money for school tuition, lack of home support, or lack of vision about opportunities available to them as educated women. On the small Caribbean island of Caye Caulker there is only one high school and no funding to hire a trained youth guidance counselor. There are no island social workers, addiction counselors, women's shelters, recreation centres or employment agencies.
FLC meetings provide a safe space for girls to discuss issues: healthy relationships, self esteem, empathy, integrity, anger management, abuse, sexuality, teen pregnancy, and career exploration. FLC has a curriculum organized around three units: Ignite, Education, Agitate. Reading and journal writing are integrated into all activities. The girls practice computer skills to post their thoughts on the club blog. Members must remain enrolled in high school and are eligible for FLC scholarships
FLC girls gain confidence in their academic and individual abilities, inspiration from strong female role models and guest speakers, and guidance about career and academic options beyond traditional women's work in Caribbean society. Students take entrepreneurship classes and can earn tuition credits through student-led kayak and bike tours of the island, or selling culinary herbs. Empowered females will positively change Belizean.