Global Girl Project (GGP) partnered with a non-profit organization in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, called Favela Street Girls, to provide a two-month exchange program for young women. This exchange brought one young woman, who grew up in one of the favelas in Northern Rio, to Los Angeles for our educational/cultural exchange program. While in the U.S. our participant lived with a host family, attended a local high school, and participated in twice-weekly workshops that focused on community development. Once back in Brazil our participant received another opportunity for world travel and lived in the U.K. for two months while she studied English. Upon returning home from England Drika implemented her Community Service Project, which was developed in Los Angeles, and continues to work with 20 young women in the Complexo de Penha favela. Drika runs soccer trainings and life skills workshops.
In our second year GGP collaborated with the NGO Soccer Girls Inc., located in Vidigal, Brazil. Jointly we chose another amazing young woman from their soccer program to participate as GGP's second scholar. This scholar came to the U.S. in January/February/March of 2016 and lived with a host family while attending Star Prep Academy. This scholar developed her own community service project called Meninas em Açao (Girls in Action) and she led a group of teenage girls in running weekly community offerings such as neighbourhood clean up, and children's reading circles.
It has always been GGP's goal to expand our reach to one new country each year, so in our second and fourth year we collaborated with the NGO Foundation TOYA, a literacy organization located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After careful assessment two girls were chosen to join our scholar from Brazil, to travel to the U.S. in January 2016. Both girls were so excited for this opportunity, but unfortunately, due to political issues that affected immigration policies GGP was unable to secure tourist visas for our two Haitian scholars. Instead, our Director travelled to Port-au-Prince and worked collaboratively with Foundation TOYA to deliver our 16 class curriculum to the girls directly. Our scholars worked tirelessly to implement their community service projects, that were developed during these training sessions with GGP. One scholar facilitated a Mural project with a group of teens from her community to teach them basic art skills and to beautify their low-income neighborhood. The other scholar implemented a weekly discussion group with younger children from her community, to talk about and address gender inequality issues within Haiti. GGP was absolutely blown away by the determination of Sarah and Jessy!!
In keeping to our intial goal of yearly growth Global Girl Project expanded into India as we entered into our third year of changing the world one girl at a time. GGP collaborated with an NGO called Kranti, that works with the daughters of sex workers in Mumbai's red light district. In February and March of 2017 three girls travelled from Mumbai to Los Angeles to participate as our third cohort of exchange scholars. While in Los Angeles our scholars formed close and lasting relationships with their peers at Star Prep Academy and with their extremely dedicated host families, and in addition learned practical tools on how to create sustainable social change within their communities back home. Once back home our three scholars implemented their community action projects that focused on the LGBTQ in Mumbai’s red light district, a mural project for children in a local group home and a dance therapy class for young orphans!
Sierra Leone/Haiti/Nepal (2018)
As Global Girl Project entered into our fourth year our growth was exponential as we moved our leadership training and cultural exchange program to Kathmandu, Nepal!! We also formed two new partnerships, one with an NGO in the very small, rural village of Bumpe, Sierra Leone with Sierra Leone Rising and the other with The Om National School in Kathmandu, Nepal. In addition, we were finally able to sponsor two more girls from our Haitian partners, Foundation TOYA, to travel to Nepal to join our six other scholars for a truly global exchange!! During our 5-week program our girls attended regular Nepali classes with our partner school, visited local cultural sights, went on a three-day trek into the mountains, AND worked through our leadership curriculum to create their very own Community Action Projects!! Take a look at this video to experience the magic that transpired!! Following the exchange each scholar went home and ran her project, and as a group, their hard work impacted the lives of over 2200 people in Sierra Leone, Haiti, and Nepal, while tackling issues such as teenage pregnancy, early marriage, and caste, gender, and racial discrimination. Amazing!!
Now in our fifth year of creating truly life-changing and globally impactful leadership trainings and cultural exchanges, we have run our second program in Kathmandu, Nepal!! We formed new partnerships with a school in Kigali, Rwanda called White Dove Global Prep and an NGO in Pakistan called Seeds of Hope, as well as a new partner school in Kathmandu, The Loyalty Academy. In July and August eight scholars from these four countries spent 5-weeks together conspiring towards community change. Not only did all eight girls create their own Community Action projects addressing issues such as pollution, the economic independence of women in Pakistan, caste discrimination, teen pregnancy, and equal access to education for girls, but we also ran a number of leadership workshops for over 150 local Nepali students. In addition, through volunteering at a local blind school and a hospital for the disabled, our girls learned the true meaning of ‘being of service’ and giving back to others. Now back home in Rwanda, Nepal, and Pakistan our girls are putting their learning into action as they each run their own community initiatives that WILL create meaningful and lasting local change, while inspiring the next generation of girls to be leaders just like our girls!!