In 2019, 80 girls attended the first ever ‘Pearl Girl Camp’ at Help Lesotho’s Seotlong Centre in Hlotse. The grade 8 and grade 9 students were all from local schools and were former participants of the Pearl Program. The girls all come from vulnerable families; nearly half of girls are orphans. Help Lesotho thanks the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) Pretoria for granting the funds for this camp.
The goal of the three-day Pearl Girl Camp was to inspire the girls to ‘Dream Big’, especially in consideration of pursuing careers related to S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and math). For many of the participants, it was the first time they realized that girls can dream big!
Here are a few of the girls’ ‘Big Dreams’ they shared after taking the training:
The girls participated in workshops where they heard from young females currently employed in S.T.E.M. industries. It was important for the campers to see girls who grew up in similar circumstances as themselves now holding important jobs in fields typically dominated by men. One of the guest speakers, Ms. Lieta, shared, “I was the only girl doing civil engineering and I failed the last year of my diploma and I was a laughing stock of all the boys in my faculty but that didn’t discourage me from trying again because I believed I am capable like those boys…”
In addition to learning about S.T.E.M., the campers participated in life skills sessions about self-esteem, being assertive, making healthy choices, leaders and followers and personal responsibility. At the end of Pearl Camp, each participant was asked to complete a survey about the information they learned during the three days of training. 96% of the girls responded that the information they learned at camp would be very helpful to their future! Survey results also showed significantly improved self-esteem and confidence among the girls, as well as an increase in their ability to make healthy decisions for themselves.