We live in a predominantly black community yet more than 50% of the population is living in extreme poverty, even pre-COVID, most of whom are single parent homes, due to unemployment, underemployment and/or inherited debt, as a result of colonialism. More than 30% of the population in Barbados still utilise outdoor pit toilets, there is lack of running water supply within many homes, no electricity, school supplies and equipment or the internet, over-populated households, and no food.
Girls are suffering through childhood in the territory which helped to shape the western slave trade, decades later, as they are ineffectively equipped and inadequately resourced to succeed. As such, we have designed our core programmes to aid in solving poverty and gender inequalities, which perpetuate violence, abuse and neglect and results in, e.g., self-harm, teen pregnancy and crime.
We aim to inspire, empower, and provide opportunities with and for girls to lead, and create positive change, that ensures girls feel powerful, proud, and protected.
Globally, 1 in 3 girls and women experience some form of violence within their lifetime. Locally and regionally, there’s an increase due to the pandemic. According to an April 2021 Central Bank of Barbados report, more than 1 in every 10 persons in the active labour force is unemployed, with the current unemployment rate at 13.6%, primarily being single mother households. Additionally, according to UNICEF, 70% of children are living in poverty in Barbados vs. 1 in 3 in the region.
Our team is primarily black Caribbean girls and women, ages 17–35. We have more than 20+ years of experience collectively, within the Gender Equity, Child Rights, and Girls Leadership space, having designed and delivered numerous girls and youth initiatives at the grass roots level and within multi-stakeholder entities and sittings, i.e., United Nations and Women Deliver.
The combination between our personal childhood stories and being lived statistics of where girls in the region are today, our range of educational standing and our work with girls and youth having either led or been key stakeholders, sufficiently showcases why we felt it necessary to design and implement a specialised girl-led and girl-centred curriculum that combines drama-therapy, coaching techniques and creative expression as a means for cultivating social change, with a leadership, digital and financial literacy component that teaches girls to be self-sufficient, emotionally intelligence, entrepreneurially minded and financially aware.
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5 Primary Benefits:
SHALEAH HINKSON, MISS I AM A GIRL 2019
Having the opportunity of becoming a mentee of the I Am A Girl programme has impacted my life positively. When I first joined the programme I did not possess all the qualities a young lady should have but I Am A Girl showed me many of these qualities and behavioural patterns. The support my mentors and fellow mentees showed me, gave me the confidence to overcome any obstacles I had faced throughout my life whether it was school or any household issues.
The advice given throughout this programme, over the many years, still, to this day, resignate with me. This is just a brief summary about how I feel about I Am Girl; words can’t even begin to explain how extremely grateful I am for all the support I have gotten. I also hope that this organization never ends, that many more girls could have the same opportunity I had. Lastly, I just want to give a big thank you to all the partners of I Am Girl because without your help the retreats and summer camps could not have been as successful as they were.
In everything we do and every action taken it is informed by the girls we serve and their expertise in their lived experiences. Below are just some results from a small sample of 260 girls we connected with across the region:
- Would you like to learn how to positively disrupt the current status quo in the Caribbean?
- Do you think that people in authority listen to what girls have to say?
- Do you believe that girls can contribute to disruption in their communities, countries and the wider Caribbean?
General Steps for Programming
All girls, once aged 5-18, may register their interest to join Girls' Programming, which is inclusive of weekly club sessions, capacity building activities, our signature 'Sister Talk' and much more.
Once officially enrolled, girls have access to varying developmental assessments to aid with Skills for Leadership, Personality and any Vulnerabilities which may arise based on lived-experiences.
Collectively we work with each girl, their parents/guardians and the team to design a personal development plan based on our current programming structure, that suits their needs and wants.
be smart, influential and strong.
One Community, Your Community.
A sisterhood that leaves a legacy for future generations to thrive.