Four months ago at the Peace Corps in-service training (IST), the idea of doing a Camp GLOW came up. Camp GLOW was created by Romanian Peace Corps volunteers in 1995. GLOW (girls leading our world) has been on my mind since. I have learned that the education and empowerment of girls may be one of the most effective ways (not the only way) toward peace and security in world. I spent around half a week in Kigali helping prepare for the camp. The camp started December 3rd and went to the 7th. Many PCV's put a LOT of time and effort into this camp which was attended by almost 80 girls and 10 Rwandan Facilitators. The girls were chosen for having a proficiency in English and leadership skills.
For the first annual Camp GLOW in Rwanda we had several guest speakers including people from the US Embassy, Rwandan Parliament and more. It was held at the International Red Cross in Kigali. Walking up to the building you see a beautiful "Welcome to Camp GLOW" sign made by some crafty PCV's. As you enter you would see almost 80 girls clad in white Camp GLOW t-shirts, created by other creative PCV's, sitting in one of their 10 groups of 7-8 girls and lead by one PCV and a Rwandan facilitator. Each group was named after one of the incredible women whose large pictures were hung on the wall along with a famous quote by her and a short biography. (Wangari Maathai, Rosa Parks, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Harriet Tubman, Miriam Makeba, Anne Frank, Immaculée Ilibagiza, Mother Teresa, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Hafsat Abiola) In my group, Mother Teresa, were 8 future leaders of Rwanda.
I learned a lot over the course of the camp. I learned that leading a group is not something that I'm natural at and far from my comfort zone, but that didn't prevent me from trying. I truly tried my best. It was perhaps one of the most difficult things I've done but I learned so much from it and by the end I felt like I was catching on. I learned from my PCV colleagues, the girls, the speakers, and our wonderful Rwandan facilitators.
The camp was a success! Especially thanks to handful of SUPER hardworking PCV's. I left the camp feeling great. I feel we made a difference... however miniscule. If I make no footprint on the world in my life... I would still be content. I have tried me best with love in my heart. And that's all that matters.
Camp GLOW was wonderful and I wish I could tell you every single thing about it but for now... back to Rwamagana.