Sunday 23 September, 2018

Outreach to girls spreading from Barbados to the Caribbean

Gabrielle Bailey of I Am A Girl Barbados.

Gabrielle Bailey of I Am A Girl Barbados.

2018 can be a year of transformation and motivation for young women who find themselves living without true purpose or guidance.

This is the belief of Gabrielle Bailey, of I Am A Girl Barbados.

She spoke to Loop News about some of the activities they have planned for this year, stressing that the main focus of the various projects is to help young women recognise their potential, so that they can be inspired and empowered:

"Many of our activities this year will be centred around the three major themes of leadership, entrepreneurship and social impact, as we continue our mandate of developing youth, who are smart, resilient and strong."

This mandate dictates that these girls gain skills in a wide range of areas, so that they can manage the various challenges and choices of life: 

"Our continued mandate of empowering, developing and uplifting girls, whilst rebuilding community spirit, has been pivotal in shaping the activities of the community for the 2018 calendar year.

"Throughout 2018, the I Am A Girl Barbados Community will be heavily focused on building upon the momentum built over the last 3 years, as well as furthering our reach. Throughout each planned programme segment, we have aimed to leave the youth we touch with skills they can use to navigate the varying facets of life. "

While there is a heavy focus on uplifting the lives of girls in Barbados, the organisation also recognises it can have a major impact on the lives of girls throughout the Caribbean. This is why they will be reaching out to assist young women in Dominica, whose lives would have been unravelled by Hurricane Maria last year:

"In February, we are aiming to extend our community outreach regionally to our neighbours in Dominica in a joint project entitled 1, 000 Smiles."

She explained that they will be touching the lives of 1, 000 young persons, by working with Soca Girls Rock, a charity geared towards addressing social and economic challenges in the Caribbean:

"The project, to be carried out with Soca Girls Rock, will create safe spaces and offer developmental programs to 1000 Dominican youth, ages 5-18. In a post-Hurricane Maria Dominican society, the creation of child-friendly spaces for work and play is pivotal in enabling children to continue to learn, share and grow as smart, resilient and strong youth. 

And as they spread their scope of impact throughout the region, major efforts to change the lives of Barbadian girls continue. This is particularly evident in their '50 More' campaign, where students from across the island have pledged to be "agents of change". Those students will undergo a series of further training through workshops aimed at helping them to be positive leaders as they impact the lives of others around them:

"To celebrate International Women's Day, we will be hosting a workshop which is actually part two to '50 More', which was our first annual anniversary conference hosted on October 11, 2017. 

"This March, we will be hosting some of the 50 More Ambassadors where we bring together students from across the island for non-traditional workshops. These students who have committed to be agents of change through their communities, will take part in interactive workshops surrounding the major theme of leadership."

I Am A Girl Barbados will also be taking their activism from the classroom to the digital space. This as they celebrate the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, which has been stipulated by the United Nations (UN):

"Our final project for the year will be our celebration of the UN Recognised 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Our campaign will be entirely online, as we shed light on a myriad of critical topics in the realm of gender-based violence. All are invited to join us on our social networks to see our activities all year long, and especially throughout the period of 16 days."

I Am A Girl Barbados celebrates its fourth anniversary on October 11.