Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Encouraging the Girls

Last Friday afternoon, twenty Espwa girls arrived at the Quad between the ages of 12 and 16 with one house mother to supervise. They piled into the chapel and patiently waited for a lecture from five Haitian university women from Les Cayes.

Each of the university girls introduced themselves. They explained what they studied at college and all of things that people could study: medicine, agronomy, secretarial or administrative studies, business, nursing. They emphasized the value of hard work and the importance of education.

Each university woman spoke and stressed to the girls that they should be thankful for the education they already have here. They told the girls they should recognize their role models at Espwa and make sure they thank them every day. It can be hard for women in Haitian society, they said. None of their mothers went to college and they didn’t work outside of the home. But the future for women in Haiti is different. Their speech encouraged our girls to push the boundaries of what is expected of them.

“It’s not ok, if you tell me I have to do those things you expect of me. It is not ok to humiliate me or to minimize me because I am a girl,” they said.

It was a wonderful chance for our girls to hear these confident, articulate, Haitian women tell them not to give in to what society has always expected of them.

“Can you cook?” they asked. “Sure, maybe you can, but that’s not all you can do. You can work hard and study and save up money and you can be whatever you want. Don’t get distracted. Stay focused and don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do because you’re a girl.” 

With women like these as role models, we know our girls have bright futures ahead of them. We look forward to many more visits from our new friends.

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