'The Women of the Future'- The 2013 Kaolack Region Girls Empowerment Summer Camp Event

For a beautiful photo album with pictures by Caitlin Healy of the 2013 camp click here.

The 2013 Kaolack Girls Empowerment Summer Camp project was built on the success of the three previous ones. The camp is aimed at empowering young girls in Senegal, through education and fun activities around the following themes: Identity, Health, Environment, Gender, and the Future. The 38 adolescent girls selected to attend the camp, hailed from all over the Kaolack, Fatick, Kaffrine, and Koungheul regions of Senegal. The girls were identified by their achievement in school, their outgoingness and propensity for leadership. During the week-long camp they interacted with 20 Peace Corps Volunteers from various sectors, 8 guest speakers and teachers, and 4 local mentors. The on-going success of the camp can be attributed to the talent of the Peace Corps Volunteers involved and even more so, to the empowered Senegalese women who act as mentors to the girls for the entire week.
The 2013 event gave the campers the chance to explore their identity and roles in society, discuss hard hitting women's health topics like feminine hygiene, visit a shell island in the delta on their very first boat ride, learn self-defense karate, and be given a glimpse into their futures as empowered community leaders. Each day of the camp had both educational sessions, artistic and craft activities, leadership and team-building exercises, sports, and more. Some of the after hours fun activities included a camp fire with s'mores, a spa night, a Saabar dance and music performance with a fire-eater, and a viewing of Mulan with popcorn and bissap juice. Funding for the event came from various donors in the United States via a Peace Corps Partnership grant. This event will remain an important annual fixture as the girls, who cried for not wanting to leave camp at the end of the week, tell their fellow classmates what they've learned and encourage them to apply for next year's camp. Many PCVs identify this project as their most fulfilling and fun undertaking of their entire service, thus, it is sure they will carry it on year after year, lending to creating the empowered and courageous Women of the Future.

Click here for details on my involvement in the camp.

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