Melanie,* like many other 13-year-old Nicaraguan girls, wrestles with personal identity in an ocean of images and voices telling her who she “should” be. When she learned that a Convoy of Hope program to empower girls was not only coming to her school but that she was personally being invited to participate, she couldn’t contain her excitement.
Melanie wasn’t simply seeking to feel better about herself. She wanted to flourish. And that’s exactly what she experienced through loving leaders and courageous peers in the program. Over a series of weeks, she found herself exchanging insecurity for confidence and timidity for boldness. Like so many, Melanie is moving from survivability to sustainability!
As we celebrate International Day of the Girl, Convoy of Hope is proud to join other organizations and groups around the world in empowering girls to realize their value. International Day of the Girl seeks to educate the public on the hardships girls face around the world every day — issues like child marriage, unplanned pregnancy, education inequality, gender-based violence, lack of self-esteem, and personal hygiene.
Our program to empower girls began in 2010 with a single after-school club at a secondary school in Tanzania where girls were dropping out of school due to pregnancy. Key stakeholders from the community were invited to share their thoughts regarding a range of topics through educational seminars and interactive discussions.
Since that first group, the program has expanded and evolved. We have established programs in five countries: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Kenya, and the Philippines. Each country has curriculum specific to the needs and issues pertaining to girls in their programs. Sessions can include culturally contextual appropriate topics around self-esteem, gender-based violence, and harmful cultural beliefs and practices.
Regardless of location, our program provides them with tools and resources to set goals and achieve dreams. We teach these young women that they can have a future where finishing school, going to a university, and starting a career are possibilities, regardless of their circumstances.
Over the past 25 years, Convoy of Hope has been dedicated to not only feeding the world, but helping individuals and communities thrive. Today, and every day, let’s celebrate girls and empower them to see their dreams become a reality.
You can learn more about how Convoy is empowering girls at convoyofhope.org/we.
*Name has been changed.