Celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child

Sadie leading yoga session
By Sadie Botine
Oct. 17, 2018

We envisioned a day where girls from both our communities could gather to celebrate each others’ strength, resilience, and beauty, learn new skills to prepare for their futures, and simply have fun.

A couple months ago, a fellow PCV and community neighbor, Gabby, approached me about doing a joint community event to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. We envisioned a day where girls from both our communities could gather to celebrate each others’ strength, resilience, and beauty, learn new skills to prepare for their futures, and simply have fun. After weeks of planning, organizing, and fundraising, this event finally came together on Saturday, October 13th. Despite a steady flow of rainfall on the day of the event, 150 girls from 3 different primary schools showed up to attend.

Girls in the rain
A rainy day did not stop the girls from attending
Local police
Local Police speaking about Gender Based Violence (GBV)

Guest speakers discussed gender-based violence and how to report sexual assaults, tips for becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business, and how to take care of yourself during your menstrual cycle. The girls also had the opportunity to learn about and practice yoga, share their own poetry, sing, and dance. At the end of the event, each girl in attendance was sent home with a goodie bag filled with a new notebook, pencil, nail polish, and a high quality reusable sanitary pad from the organization Days for Girls.

When the girls had grabbed their goodie bags and started heading home, my initial feeling was that of relief; I was just so glad it was all over. We faced so many hiccups and obstacles planning and executing this event, I felt so exhausted and happy to be done. It wasn’t until I got home and listened as my sisi (host sister) excitedly shared her experience of the event with the rest of my host family that I realized the potential impact of this day. Yes these girls learned some incredibly valuable and important information – they discussed some difficult topics that are often times viewed as taboo and thus aren’t talked about – but I think most importantly these girls were celebrated for simply being themselves.

Poetry
One of the girls sharing her poetry

Our 5 kind, loving, energetic, and enthusiastic GLOW counselors created this space where girls didn’t need to be ashamed of their bodies or of the fact that they are girls. Instead, they experienced celebrating these parts of themselves (and of each other) and witnessed the unique strength and beauty that comes with being a girl. As I got up to say goodnight to my host family that night, I heard my sisi quietly whisper to herself “today has been my best day,” and in that moment I knew it was all worth it.

Sadie and Gabby
PCV Sadie and Gabby, all smiles after a successful day
Sadie Botine

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