Photos: Hello from Girls Club in Accra, Ghana

Girls Club Leader, Madison Graboyes, shares her reflections and photos abroad in Accra, Ghana: 

I think sometimes it is easy to forget that we never stop learning.  Coming into this Girls Club experience, I was knew I would have a fantastic experience, and I hoped to teach girls valuable tools and life lessons.  I’m starting to realize just how many life lessons they are teaching me.

The class I taught before our last Girls Club session was a difficult one, and I left the room exasperated.  I felt overwhelmed, both by my inability to get my students attention, and by the negative reinforcement being thrown at children constantly.  Sometimes trying to make a small change in an environment can seem like an uphill battle.  When I walked into the girls’ classroom, however, everything was different.  It felt like a breath of fresh air.  All 12 young women were so excited to get started, that any stress I had felt instantly melted away.   These children want to learn so badly, and they soak up positive reinforcement like a sponge.  It is all about the approach.

We began our Girls Club this week with a poem.  When I asked the girls what a poem was, I was met with blank stares: none of the girls had ever hear the word poem, let alone read one.  I was momentarily heartbroken by the idea of not knowing poetry for the first 12 years of my life – I can’t claim to be a poetry aficionado, but certain rhymes carried me through those years, and I can’t imagine living without them.  I read the girls their first poem, and then asked if they would like to write their own.  It was a resounding yes!

The week before, I had asked the girls to go home and write a little blurb about their dreams for the future.  This is what we used for our first poem together, our Dream poem.  Each girl came to the board and wrote one line from her dreams for the future.  In the end, we had a beautiful piece filled with love and big dreams!

Our Dream Poem by the girls of Ghana’s Girls Club
I dream one day all girls will read
I dream that I will go to the USA
I dream about becoming a doctor
I would like to be rich
I dream that I will become a lawyer
I dream one day I will become a doctor
I dream one day to become a newscaster
I dream that I will become a model
I dream one day that I will be a police in my future
I dream that I will be a nurse
I dream that I will be a teacher
I dream that I will become a policewoman
I dream that all girls will be virgins and also that I will be a journalist in the future

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