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35+ years of activism & feminism in Fiji

Published

15 June 2019

Author

Fiji Women's Rights Movement

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GIRLS Graduate from leadership program 15/06/19

GIRLS Graduate from leadership program

15/06/19
It was a night of celebration as 37 diverse girls graduated from FWRM’s Grow Inspire Relate Lead Succeed (GIRLS) program and GIRLS Club on Friday at the 5 Princes Hotel in Suva.

GIRLS is a 3-year leadership program for girls between the ages of 10 to 12. The program uses innovative methods to empower girls such as sports, theatre and arts. The GIRLS Club was formed for graduates as a platform to continue their capacity building and interests in advocacy on key issues such as bullying and discrimination.
The event was supported by the Australian Government through the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA).

“The GIRLS Program is a place of safety for me and I am blessed to have been part of this since 2013. I have a family here. I have grown with this family and I know my learnings from this program will last a lifetime” GIRLS Participant, age 18.

“It has been a pleasure and honour to witness how the girls have grown in the program for the last 3 years. It’s been an enriching experience for them and all of us as the program has given them a wider reach, to touch people’s lives with their messages and art,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.

“GIRLS is and continues to be one of the highlights of our work under the Intergenerational Women in Leadership Program which has pioneered a space for the empowerment and visibility of the GIRL Child. More importantly, it’s vital, now more than ever for GIRL leaders to take up spaces in the face of shocking and pervasive discrimination and continued violence against them.”

Recent statistics from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) for the month of May revealed that over 60 percent of the victims and survivors in sexual offence cases were under 18.

“The GIRLS have been able to share stories and experiences of bullying, neglect and discrimination in their different expressions of art and theatre. It’s important to acknowledge their expertise on their own issues and in FWRM’s experience and the staff, it has exposed many of the different issues they face, some we know of and others we didn’t, in a perspective that was unique to our own.”

This year marked the second cohort of GIRLS since its inception in 2012 and the first for its graduate program, the GIRLS Club. The program is unique in its set up, as it completes its second cycle of graduates after 3 years engaging with the GIRLS and their parents and carers. The program also provides sessions with parents and carers to understand and learn more about the GIRLS issues and strengthen engagement with them.

“FWRM is grateful to the GIRLS and what they’ve been able to give back to FWRM and the team. We’re especially grateful for the support of the parents and carers towards their daughters and the program,” said Ms. Singh.

With the culmination of this phase for the program, FWRM is developing plans for the next GIRLS cohort.

“Women’s and girls rights are threatened in Fiji, the Pacific and globally. It’s important to continue and strengthen efforts towards building awareness on these issues and the GIRLS program is an important avenue to work towards this,” said Ms. Singh.

“FWRM will continue to engage with the graduates in different spaces and are looking towards the future of the GIRLS program.”
END

For further clarification or interviews, please contact FWRM’s Communications Officer Maryann Lockington on (679) 8677330.