My three girls and I
All the girls with thier diplomas and t-shirts
I am happy to report that our girls empowerment camp was a tremendous success. 19 young women ages 12-18 participated in a three-day two-night camp in one of the cultural hubs of El Salvador, Suchitoto. We stayed at the Centro del Arte para la Paz (Art Center for Peace), which is an old church renovated to host guests, youth groups and tours of the on-site museum. Over the course of three days, seven Peace Corps Volunteers (including myself) led a series of activities aimed to be both fun and educational. Topics covered included: self-defense, body image and self esteem, relationships, leadership, career planning, STD and contraception education, and yoga. The girls also participated in a tour around the city, movie night, manicures, a bonfire, a question and answer session with successful Salvadoran women, and a tour of the museum. At the end of the camp, each girls received a diploma and a t-shirt.
The whole weekend ended up being really fun and overall it was probably the most rewarding experience of my work here. At the end a few of the girls made short speeches saying how much they learned and enjoyed the camp and thanked us for putting it on. I feel like we really changed these girls’ lives for the better, at least in a small way. After seeing women being treated like second-class citizens here for so long, it felt really good to do some work to change things. Although equality here is far behind what we have achieved in the U.S., things are changing. Progress is being made, and we tried to impress upon the girls the idea that they can be the leaders in this movement, that they can spread the message of equality and empowerment of women to their peers and hopefully achieve some degree of progress. I am really proud of our work, I want to thank the other volunteers involved and especially our donors, whose generosity enabled all of this to happen. I wish everyone could have been there. Hopefully these pictures can convey some of the excitement.