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DAY 3 | BRAVEGIRL CAMP 2019

In order to be brave now and future, BraveGirls need to have a solid career plan. University plane held by Alumni on Universities and Phumelele Mncina (WK’19), a current head of Brave Girl Camp opened the floor to BraveGirls to solve their problems concerned about their major and future career. One BraveGirl raised her concern that do you actually need to set your major before entering into university? A Waterford Alumni, now currently studying in university in USA replied:”In USA, we got one year of general course when you are free to explore different courses. While I still recommend you can start to think about it and explore it in your high school. Talking to your friend is good way.:

Morning also is a good time for reading poem. Several BraveGirls come to the stage, standing on it, stepping with rhythm, singing the song from their heart. Further on, BraveGirls have been divided into smaller groups and each of group has been assigned with a different poem and asked to perform. After a hot discussion, each group is ready for their show. The final performance is fairly eye-watching and the creativity of BraveGirls

This afternoon has been heated up by the discussion of male’s role in Feminism. BraveGirls are divided into four different groups according to their stands. Every BraveGirl was fully engaged in the discussion, especially when it comes to the discussion like “Can man be a feminist?” and “Does man have more responsibility than woman to solve this issue?. It is really inspiring to hear some voice from some sounding BraveGirls and encouraging to see how BraveGirls treat with each other’s diverse opinions with respect. It is a other step toward brave when they start to accept the opposing idea.

When comes to dancing session led by Abudi(WK’19) and Paulina(WK’19), the passion of BraveGirls haven been ignited again. The camp is on fireeee. Dancing with friends they made on campus and laughing loudly, BraveGirls definitely enjoy the very moment they have there.

Career panel workshop held by Julia(WK’20) along with four financially successful women further envisioned BraveGirls’ future career. The lecturer encouraged BraveGirls to start from dreaming big. Instead of thinking what job should I do, start to think about what job should I create and what social problem you want to solve. Also the lecturer inspires BraveGirls to be clear to what they want to do in future. When comes to the discussion with their parents, they have to be more informed and have mature thought about this job.

Today ended with a exciting Ted Talks held by Etta(WK’20) and Julia(WK’20) and an interesting reflection about gay right. All BraveGirls are intrigued by the topic and excited by tomorrow’s Job shadowing. cent 2;\lsdprio

DAY 2 | BRAVEGIRL CAMP 2019

This amazing day started with an amazing mountain view. The BraveGirls welcomed their second day on camp with an exciting hike to the peak of a mountain near Waterfrod’s campus – Tom. A few girls were reluctant to hike but the top of the mountain was greeted with songs and screams of delight. Keeping with the tradition of climbing Tom, we tried to team together to push the infamous boulder, but even the strength of dozens of BraveGirls was not enough!  Absorbing all the beauty and serenity of Eswatini’s mountains, the girls had a chance to meditate and quietly reflect. Climbing the mountain was a challenge for a few of the girls, but their bravery was symbolized in the ascent. We are so proud of them! 

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However, the girls don’t only need to be brave, but need to be cautious of dangers around them and be strategical of how to tackle myriad emergencies. Today’s first workshop on Consent and Gender Based Violence in a Swazi Context was held by two experts in the reign of sexual abuse from SWAGAA (Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse). Not only did they discuss the fundamental issue of consent but they taught the BraveGirls to how to report the cases of sexual assault and harassment to police and keep the evidence. True to the BraveGril ethos, the girls bravely engaged.  

SWAGGA Members

We zoomed out to focus on another pressing issue – the Climate Crisis. Ella McAuliffe, (BraveGirl Team UWCSEA’19) started a discussion on the way that the climate crisis affects women and the interdependency of tackling environmental issues and gender disparities. We ended off with the girls suggesting solutions. Meanwhile, Elijah (WK’19) and Jess (BraveGirl as part of the Young Christian Fellowship at Waterford, lead a discussion on the relationship between Christianity and empowering women. A respectful conversation on whether or not the bible promotes gender equality was hosted, giving the girls a chance to ask difficult but pressing questions. Elijah remarked, ”Men and women are like two interdependent puzzles. Women are men’s helpers, men are women’s helpers.” 

Ella (UWCSEA’19)

Things got more creative in the afternoon. We welcomed Bengi, (WK’18) a former head of BraveGirl Camp and Slindile BraveGirl Alumn ’18 for an extremely liberating workshop on healing and empowerment though poetry. They challenged the girls to ignore the narrative that tells them they are too emotional. This was our most snap-filled workshop to date! BraveGirls and facilitators alike shared insights such as We must not rely on appreciation from men to feel beautiful”, and “we need to stop expecting all women to act in the same way. We need to be who we are.” The line “what do you know of your body except what you were told?” resonated with many girls. The power of art, like poetry, to bring up other issues was truly demonstred in this workshop. Issues of body image, grief, emotion, harassment, positivity and beauty were touched on. A girl aptly commented “As women we need to stop being defined by the things that others say about us.

Bengi Rwabuhemba (WK’18)

The Bracelet workshop led by Maru Attwood (WK’19), a head of BraveGirl Camp further ignited BraveGirls passion. They made appealing bracelets for themselves, their families and even facilitators to show appreciation to their effort.

Last but not the least, the day ended with an environmental-friendly fashion show. BraveGirls used their creativity and determination to recycle so-called worthless trash into pieces of beautiful clothes, performing a really exciting and arresting show. 

DAY 1 | BRAVEGIRL CAMP 2019

This year, Waterford welcomed 50 girls from different schools in Mbabane, Eswatini with enthusiasm and a passion song. After all girls settled in their rooms and each of them got a welcome package including sweets and lovely letters from Brave Girls 2017, the camp was ready to get going.

We started with an ice-breaking game called Link, in which Brave girls got divided into small groups of circles according to their blocks and introduced what they like and what they are good at. With non-stoppable waves of laughters and cheers, people’s hearts haven been brought closer and new friendships are starting to grow.

As the day progressed, it became more engaging. BraveGirls started their first workshop, building resilience with a healthy and balanced lifestyle presented by Anne Borrell and The Stigmatization of Menstruation presented by Paulina (BraveGirl Team WK’19) and Doctor DeLouis Terlonge from Harvard university. 

In the workshop, facilitators raised key questions related to healthy lifestyle, equipping them with the knowledge they can take back home to better their lives and practice self care. Things such as balanced lifestyles, good nutrition and sleep were all discussed.  

Meanwhile, the Dr DeLois and the facilitators delved into the taboos around menstruation. Menstruation is a natural phenomenon among girls and women. Most women have a menstrual cycle. However, it’s hardly ever discussed openly. The workshop was a refreshing opportunity to have those discussions. With humor and engaging questions, our facilitator introduced the current situation, provoking the girls’ thinking toward what they can do and what should they do to improve the status quo. The relationship between sexism and menstruation and why it is so stigmatized was explored by girls who are beginning to show us how brave they are.

After a crash course in feminism over lunch, BraveGirls attended three workshops — Mental Health in a Swazi Context, Mindfulness and finally Sex Education. In the Mental Health workshop, Dr Hansen delivered a talk about psychological wellbeing and the various factors that contribute to it. BraveGirls fully engaged in it, contributing a range of insightful ideas. This complemented Bantfu Dlamini’s (BraveGirl Team WK’20) workshop in which the girls had a chance to share strategies for coping with stress. One of our favorites was a BraveGirl who spoke about singing as her way of feeling a bit better when she is anxious. Sakhile, a representative from Eswatini’s FLAS (Family Life  ) started a discussion on safe sex. 

After a very dynamic (and a little exhausting to say the least..) dance session of Kizumba lead by Tema (BraveGirl Team WK’20) the girls ended the day with a movie and reflection session. Day one of BraveGirl Camp 2019 has been a fantastic way to set the scence for the next few days of learning, growing and being brave. We love these girls already! 

Braveagairl Fundraising

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In collaboration with Women’s Week held on the Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA campus. BraveGirl held a silent Art Poster Auction to raise money for BraveGirl Camp 2019. Whilst very grateful for the from our sister school United World College South East Asia. We found it important to raise funds through our own community. The Silent Auction was held on International Women’s day in the Creative Center for learning Drama.

DAY 4: Job Shadowing | BraveGirl Camp 2018

 

Today was job shadowing day. In the morning the girls left to go to different organisations in and around town, in Ezulwini and the Malkerns region.

Job shadowing is an integral part of BraveGirl camp, enabling the girls to get an insight into what careers in different fields may look like. Some of the organisations we sent girls to were Mbabane clinic (The Clinic Group), Gone Rural, Swazi Trails, and the Swazi Times.

When the girls came back in the afternoon, they were exhausted but extremely excited about all the new experiences they had and all the things they learned spending their day trying out different jobs and asking questions to the women and men working in the companies.

Some girls even ended up earning themselves a part-time job or an opportunity to intern/volunteer over the next break. Most of them expressed that the experience was very rewarding and they gained a better idea about what they would like to do after school.

The greatest thanks go out to the following organisations who have supported us by hosting girls for the job shadowing day. If you or your organization would be interested in collaborating with us in this way in the future, please get in touch with us.

Job shadowing organisations 2018 were: 

Standard Bank, Pick’n’Pay, SiyeSwatini TransMagnific, Swazi Trails, Design/Architecture, Dream Weavers, ICAP, Swaziland National Trust Commission, Cuba Swaziland, SANLAM, Swazi Observer, Swazi Times, PrintPak, White Orchid Spa

Photos by Eva Tsai, Text: Elisa Matz

DAY 3 | BraveGirl Camp 2018

Wednesday was all centred around the topic of careers. The aim of the day was to give the girls concrete tips for their future and to prepare them for the time after school as most of them are either in form 4 or 5, thus graduating from high school either this year or next. Another focus lay upon the discussion of the issue of gender based violence in Swazi communities.

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In the morning Lwazi from Waterford’s Advancement Office gave a presentation on CV-writing. The girls got several sample CVs and in small groups they had to decide upon which person they would chose for the job.

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After break, a panel of Waterford alumni hosted by Ike, one of the founders of BraveGirl, talked to the girls about what they did after graduating high school, and they provided the girls with lots of helpful tips regarding their career choices.

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In the afternoon we were visited by SWAGAA, the Swazi Action Group Against Abuse, who hosted a discussion on gender-based violence in Swazi communities. The girls found the conversation to be very interesting and necessary.

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As a relaxation in the afternoon there were a few team building exercises and a yoga/mindfulness workshop hosted by Shannon, one of the senior students at Waterford.

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In the evening we had a karaoke and dance party which the girls seemed to enjoy a lot.

Before going to bed the girls got really excited as they found out their organisations for Thursday’s job shadowing. They then went into their home groups to reflect upon the day.

Many thanks go out to our alumni visitors and SWAGAA for their amazing tips and workshops. 

Photos: Eva Tsai, Text: Elisa Matz