My first week of workshops was very eventful. The one incident that stood out most to me was the 2nd year group workshop at the YMCA. We had a number of activities planned, but I noticed that one of the girls was not participating. I called on her to answer a question and immediately the class began shouting, “oh no! She can’t do it, I will!” She kept her head down and said she didn’t know the answer without even trying. My partner and I decided to help Pricilla gain some confidence and show her that if she just tried she could do anything the other girls could.
After the first half of the workshop we started on the group segment and divided the girls into teams. I appointed Pricilla group leader, but she refused. I talked to the girls and told them we would be encouraging and helpful to each another. No one was allowed to laugh, be negative in anyway or insult one another. Most importantly everyone in the group had a job to do and Pricilla must present. I then took Pricilla aside for a private talk and asked her why she thought she could not be group leader; she stated that the other girls were smarter than her. I asked her several questions about the presentation they had just watched and she answered each one correctly. I praised her for this and showed her that she is just as smart as the others and had understood everything that went on thus far. She returned to the group prepared to be group leader.
After the assignment the group presented and as Pricilla answered a question the class began laughing saying her answer was wrong, she hung her head and prepared to sit. I took her hand and joined her at the front and again told the class that we would only be helping and encouraging to one another, and not make fun of each other. I asked Pricilla to explain her answer and she did. I then showed the class that the question had more than one correct answer and Pricilla was indeed correct. She smiled and everyone applauded. At the end the girls wrote their life goal on an apple and stuck it to the dream tree and smiling Pricilla wrote she wanted to become a nurse on hers, walked to the front of the class alone and stuck it on.
After the substance abuse workshops we started a computer awareness project with the girls. Many of them had never used a computer before and we wanted to prepare them for the world of work as many of the fields they aspired to enter called for the use of computers.
The girls were very interested and excited. They understood and progressed quickly with the material given. Right away I realized that our talk about team work and encouragement had been taken to heart. The girls were all helping and working with one another and I was very pleased to see Pricilla participating and her partner encouraging her to take the lead.
We went through the parts of the computer and the use of basic programs such as Microsoft word and paint shop. At the end we had a quiz and the entire class applauded as Pricilla stood and, although a little nervous, answered several questions voluntarily.
– Sheryne Lorde, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2013