A leadership academy for strong girls with an attitude, often mislabeled as lost.
"Perhaps this new generation of girls wants the opportunity to figure it out, to discover themselves without interruption and to be bold in their individualities."
With Miss Tanzania having just been crowned a few days ago, things are looking very feminine in Tanzania. Dreams are reignited as they do annually around this lavish occasion. Seeing young women that look like themselves, floating across large stages, megawatt smiles beaming and eyes glistening you can just see the wander in their eyes.
You see, not everyone in Africa wants to live in a village or receive hand-outs or rely on others for a decent life; there is a new generation of girls that have a different kind of fire in them regardless of their background or circumstance. Perhaps this new generation of girls wants the opportunity to figure it out, to discover themselves without interruption and to be bold in their individualities. And yet, they float quietly through the community unheard, silent in submission but with a fire in their brown eyes that's indescribable. Whenever I catch one of them fiercely peering at me, I often secretly wonder if it is curiosity at this strange foreign woman that isn't one of them or something more. A fierce look that speaks more to me than simple curiosity. These girls have something to say and I'm ready to listen.
THE THING ABOUT RESPECT IS...
"You should start a woman's empowerment project for them!". I thought he was joking until he returned two days later with the names of over 30 local teenage girls"
During a regular meeting with one of our major project partners, this intelligent and highly educated academic said something curious to me. He was talking about some of his teenage female students in frustration mentioning that "they need to be shown how to respect themselves as girls". My usual reaction would be to jump in defensiveness, become offended and demand an explanation to such a remark. This time I decided to ask what exactly it was he meant. As the conversation developed, I realised his frustration arose from a lack of know how to best nurture the most troubled young women and mold their huge potential. It seemed obvious to me that his first issue was his lack of ever experience being a woman, therefore lack of insight into their teenage plight. His second issue was where were these girls mentors? Did they mentor each other productively, guiding each other and supporting each other positively? Had anyone asked the girls themselves what they needed?
As I continued to speak, a silence grew around me and I realised what was happening. "You should start a women's empowerment project for them!" he blurted out. I thought he was joking, until he returned two days later with the names of over 30 local teenage girls who'd seen me around or heard of me (who knew!) and had signed up. Wait, wait, wait, I told him as disappointment crept over him. I have no plan, I have no strategy....I'm just a Nurse, I'm no one, I'm in no position to mentor moody teens. Apparently they disagreed. And so our new project began. Starting roughly as women's empowerment project, but I wanted more. Those girls deserve more from us.
SIRET LEADERSHIP ACADEMY FOR GIRLS
"Those girls with fire in their eyes and an "attitude problem", Those girls who talk too much and "don't know their place". Those girls who "don't respect themselves" and aren't shy to talk to anyone, including boys. This program is for them"
Siret Leadership Academy is much more than a "women's empowerment" project. Our girls are going to learn how to empower each other and become real life community ambassador's through intensive leadership and development training. They will graduate to become mentors to their own "tribe" of girls who they then have to proactively mentor to become community ambassadors and recognised by the Ministry of Education and the Commissioner. They will receive intensive career guidance from local experts in fashion, arts, healthcare or their chosen career field and be given a back to school hamper for every year they start their new grades.
This is an intensive, focused and guided mentorship program that will produce leaders. This is for those girls with fire in their eyes and an "attitude problem", For those girls who talk too much and "don't know their place". For the girls society says "don't respect themselves" and are too confident when to talking to anyone, including boys. This program is for them and we're so grateful that it only took them a day to find us.
So how does everyone else get involved? Well, people can sign up as distant mentors and mentor our girls in their chosen career, mentor them through their academics or sponsor their school fees. Anything that will encourage them to become self sufficient, brave and leaders of tomorrow.
*Message or email us to join as a distant mento sponsor any of the girls for feminine hygiene products, back to school hampers for our girls or simply make a small donation.