This weekend, ~180 girls graduated from the yearlong Adolescent Girls Program (AGP) and oh, did we celebrate!
The AGP is Girl Up Initiative Uganda’s flagship program that teaches girls all kinds of confidence-boosting practical skills like how to… be assertive, make eye contact, speak up; love and appreciate their changing bodies; make reusable sanitary pads; advocate for girls’ rights; speak out against violence… and more!
The girls were so excited and proud. In a country where the education and equality of girls is not valued by the majority, this is a big achievement worthy of big celebrations!
There was music, dancing, speeches, performances, cake, feasting. Almost 100 other girls who graduated last year were also there to take part in the festivities.
I had the absolute honor of getting to hug or shake hands with each graduate and give her a gift of a pretty bag full of pads. What a privilege! Truly!
At one point when we were all dancing, one of the girls came up to me, crying. I put my arm around her and asked, ‘What’s going on?’ She replied, ‘I’m just really happy…’ I totally got it. Me too, girl. Me too.
These girls will go on to be Big Sisters and mentor other girls in their communities. Their learning and growth is paid forward in big, beautiful, positive ways.
I’m absolutely grateful for the Girl Up team and the great work they’re doing here. This is individual and social change in action, and what a joy to be here, in the midst of it all.