"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has" -Margaret Mead
G.L.O.W. stands for Girls Leading Our World. Camp GLOW is a Peace Corps program focused on educating the girl child in developing countries. We hold a week long camp where 2 girls and 1 teacher come from each volunteer's village. Over the course of the week the girls and teachers learn life skills, HIV/AIDS basics, business skills, and much more! Camp participants return to their villages with the aim to start a Girls Club at their school. Camps to clubs keeps the ball rolling of girl education and empowerment.
For more information and details about our Camp GLOW check out a website fellow PCV Deanna Dent has created http://nwpglow.wordpress.com
In Northwest Province we run one Province-wide camp with participants covering the 4 districts: Solwezi, Mufumbwe, Mwinilunga, and Ikilenge. This year we had 32 girls, 14 teachers, 4 junior counselors, 2 translators, 5 facilitators, and 17 volunteers involved! The largest camp in PC Zambia to date! We held the camp at Mwinilunga Trades Center. A wonderful site several kilometers outside of Mwinilunga Boma complete with newly constructed classrooms and dormitories.
Here's a bit of what we did during the camp:
In the morning we held different sessions. This included Gender Roles, Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS sessions, Business Skills, Relationships, Rape and Sexual Assault, Decision Making and Communication Skills, Women in Leadership, and Family Planning.
As co-camp director there were plenty of logistics to do throughout the week to keep each day running smoothly. Everyone came together to make an excellent low-stress week!
You can't have a camp without some fun and creative sessions. In Art as Expression each girl created a piece of artwork to express themselves in any capacity which was then displayed during our closing ceremony.
Wednesday afternoon we hosted a Career Panel. Marjorie, featured far left, is a women politician in Solwezi, District. Each speaker shared her story of how she made it to the position she holds today. Many had stories of struggle and inspired the girls by sharing how they overcame the odds and made it.
One afternoon we made Chitenge Pads. You make a pad out of chitenge scraps (local fabric here) that you button around your underwear with a pouch for removing and replacing a washcloth in the center. Having chitenge pads allows the girls to attend school when they're on their menstrual cycles. A special thanks to Mrs. Moehle for donating all the deluxe sewing kits. The girls were SO excited and loved having the materials they need to sew to take back with them to the village.
Low ropes course: the spider web. Goal: get everyone from one side to the other without touching the rope!
Friendship bracelet making time!
Some of the girls put on a traditional dance to thank the cooks for the delicious meals they made us all week
Thursday afternoon we had rotational IGAs, Income Generating Activities. Pictured above is a Nursery demo lead by on of our Agricultural Volunteers, Larry Maurin. Other IGAs included chitenge doormats, tailoring, bread baking, hair plating, and jewerly making.
My teacher on the left Ms. Makaaka, Fridah, Mavis, and Me!
We finished a wonderful week by a candlelite ceremony. Each girl received a certificate for completing camp (certificates are a huge deal in Zambia). We completed the ceremony with each color team creating a floating latern. Each girl wrote a hope or dream they have for the future that they wrote on the latern. The idea being the latern would float off into the night sky and the girls would always have a reminder of how they felt at the end of camp and the hopes they had for the future by looking at the night sky when they returned to the village.
Camp GLOW was my last big program of the year and also of my Peace Corps service. I now have about 3 months left. Oh how the time has flown by. I'll be working on finishing my projects and wrapping up loose ends in the village, coming to grips that I'll be leaving this beautiful country in just a short while.