Monday, April 1, 2013

Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone (GESSL) 2012

Last year Women Change Africa along with it's collaborating partner the Visao Foundation launched it's first ever Girls Empowerment Summit in Freetown Sierra Leone (GESSL).  As part of our cultivating women theme we were excited to engage in this endeavor and are grateful for all the support we received. Below is a brief write up about the day and photo's for your viewing pleasure. Funds were raised with the support of close friends and sponsors to make this amazing day happen. We definitely are thankful to everyone for their support. Because of this support each girl attended the summit for free with meals and materials provided for them for the day. We hope you enjoy the brief write up of how the day went! and of course visit our facebook page for more photos, and information on how to get involved with GESSL. 
That morning they all walked in bright faced and ready to take on the day, what they were expecting we did not know, were they nervous, were they looking forward to the day? only time would tell. As the day began we knew we were in the right place with the right girls doing the right thing we love to do Empower young girls!  Girls Empowerment Summit pilot program began launched in Freetown Sierra Leone on December 28th 2012. With 9 girls in attendance on the day of the summit and 5 young women mentors who served as big sisters and facilitators of activities throughout the day. The day overall was a huge success and filled with fun laughter love and learning. Through the use of icebreaker activities, and self empowerment, and sisterhood building activities, the girls really had the opportunity to learn about themselves, their peers and build relationships with young female mentors who were present. A major indication that our girls were truly learning was during the chat and chew session with young mentors in the room. The girls were so eager to ask questions from “where did you go to school?” to “what were you like as a young girl?”, there was a true essence of sisterhood throughout the day that existed amongst the girls and also amongst the mentors. The girls did activities that focused on building a positive self image, one activity that was enjoyed was the self portrait activity where the girls had to write out positive adjectives about themselves and express them out loud in front of their peers thus affirming their beliefs. Towards the end of the day the girls’ bond amongst each other definitely strengthened as the summit began tackling more serious issues they faced such as prostitution, peer pressure and pregnancy through theatrical anecdotes. The day ended with the girls walking away with understanding the meaning of what it meant to be empowered and received various resources and skills to help them continue building a positive image of themselves. They also walked away with newly formed relationships with each other, and big sisters. Because of the various support we received from you as funders this day was made possible and we have you to thank. Every girl walked away with a gift bag which included personal hygiene items, a tshirt, and books as well. As we look forward to another GESSL in December 2013, we hope to expand the program to 50 girls this year. We have begun building more relationships with schools in Sierra Leone and have gotten very high positive reception about the program. We look forward to your continued support.

For more information on the project visit our page by clicking here Facebook Fan Page GESSL

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