Recently I took part in an awesome and inspiring 2-night, 3-day camp for female students called iGLOW: Indonesian Girls Leading Our World. I had been part of the planning process for the camp for months. Last year was the first year there was a GLOW camp in Indonesia, but they are common in many Peace Corps countries. This year we expanded to four camps across East Java!
The goals of the camp are for girls to develop new friendships, work together, build self-confidence, reach for high goals, and generally be empowered to be strong leaders. This is especially important in a country where boys and men traditionally are given leadership roles while girls and women play more subservient roles. When asked why this is the case, the answer given is often tied to religion or cultural customs but the truth is there are plenty of strong (and religiously devout) Indonesian female leaders. Camp iGLOW recruited some of these women to speak to the students about topics covering gender stereotypes, inner beauty, health & nutrition, reproductive health, higher education, leadership, healthy relationships, human trafficking, and more. When the girls weren’t in sessions they spent time in small groups creating posters, preparing for a talent show on the last day, doing early morning exercise (senam, yoga, or basketball), dancing together during our bonfire/dance party, and more. I certainly didn’t sleep much (maybe 3 or 4 hours a night?) and I’m sure the girls didn’t either, but fun was had by one and all, and good lessons were learned.
The camp concluded with the a closing ceremony where the girls read this commitment (in bahasa Indonesia) together:
1. Personal Commitment
a. I promise to love myself for my beauty inside as well as out.
b. I promise to never settle for anything less than what’s best for me in relationships, with my body, the opportunities I allow for myself and for my future.
c. I promise to never give up on what I’m passionate about.
2. Commitment to share knowledge with women in your community
a. I promise to share the skills and knowledge I’ve gained at iGLOW Day with the other students at my school and members of my community.
b. I promise to become a leader in advancing the role/image of women and girls at my school and in my community.
3. Commitment to promoting the image of strong women around the world
a. I promise to continue working to promote a positive image of Indonesian women and women around the world.
I think my photos can tell the rest of the story.
To all the lovely PCVs who helped with Camp iGLOW, keep glowing!!
Ice breakers – “find a friend”
Meeting in their small groups for the first time
Early morning senam
Sessions! This one is leadership.
Making posters about healthy relationships
The “Sit” Game – working together
Most of our amazing speakers (mostly this picture is proof that I attended the camp because, as the photographer, I was rarely in the photos!)
Talent Show at the end of the weekend
The pink group posing with the iGLOW Flag that each group contributed to
(almost) all of us!
Me and my fabulous eight iGLOW girls.
For more photos, see my facebook!