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. There are no island social workers, addiction counselors, women's shelters, recreation centres or employment agencies.
Girls Rising 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. GR has a curriculum organized around supporting each other and achieving gender equity. Members must remain enrolled in high school and are eligible for GR scholarships.
Members of GR 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, intern at local businesses and can earn tuition credits through Social Enterprise such as student-led kayak and bike tours of the island. Empowered females will positively change Belize.
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