The primary goal of Peace Corps Timor-Leste is to improve economic development in communities around Timor. Part of this mission is to encourage women and girls to engage in economic activities, and to give them the resources to create a sustainable livelihood for themselves and their families. With this goal in mind we understand that a Camp G.L.O.W (Girls Leading Our World) can provide young women with an opportunity to come together to learn about community economic development, in a safe and inspiring space. At the end of the four day camp, 40 girls aged 14-18, will have learned about business development, cross-stitching, marketing, leadership, reproductive health, and peaceful conflict resolution. Moreover, we hope they will have made new friends that will support each other in the future and help one another achieve their dreams. The communities where volunteers live have come together to lend support, space, and ideas to make this camp possible. We believe that by bringing young women together and giving them a space to share stories and have their voices heard by not only adults but by one another, we can help bolster their generation to become leaders and positively impact the course of development in Timor. By attending this camp, these young women will become active participants in shaping their future, and the development of Timor.
The women of Timor-Leste are strong, intelligent, and capable. They are also the largest group of disenfranchised people in the country. With barriers to education, participation in decision making, and leadership roles, women in Timor are silenced and quiescent. Subsequently the country loses the opportunity to hear their voices and grow with their support. With roughly half of the population barred from participating in the development of the country, half of Timor’s talent is left untapped. In the vein of recognizing and addressing inequality in participation in development work, some dedicated members of the communities have decided to create a platform for girls to come together and empower one another to not only learn and participate in development, but to lead the development of Timor-Leste.
Many women are passionate about their education and it is essential to harness this passion and dedication in a way that is culturally sensitive while still providing new tools for women to us to improve their lives. It is also imperative for women to participate in economic development activities to support their families and create a better future for themselves. This camp will provide women with the necessary education information that can be used as tools to create their own businesses.