Girl Power

Last week we held a girls’ leadership camp called GLOW—Girls Leading Our World. The neatest thing about it was the noticeable transformation the girls went through over the 4-day camp; fertilizer for self-esteem.

Forty-seven girls from all over Paraguay participated in activities and presentations related to leadership, self-esteem, domestic violence awareness, sexual education, safe online communication practices, and much more. The last night we had a period party, yep you guessed it, to celebrate menstruation.

Youth camps are not common in Paraguay. For many of the girls who attended, somewhere between the ages of 13 and 18, it was their first time leaving home for more than a night and definitely their first time traveling alone (well, they weren’t alone because they had the volunteers from their communities with them). The girls who participated in the camp were articulate and thoughtful.

I slept in the girls’ dormitory—where they found so much energy to giggle, scream, and chat until the wee hours of the morning I will never know. The camp schedule was packed, 7 am to 10:30 pm the two full days of the camp.

The camp emphasized that girls, young women, and women are powerful resources in Paraguay. For me, this wasn’t a surprise. The positive experiences I’ve had in Paraguay mostly center around the strength and compassion women in this country have. But, seeing my girls (I brought 2 from my community) and the other Paraguayan girls at the camp smile so broadly and participate so actively, I was glad they too knew how great they and their mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and grandmothers are.