My name is Jen and my Dad’s name is Trevor.
We have decided to raise money for Rites for Girls by walking Hadrian’s Wall (an 84 mile hike across England) at the end of June this year, and we decided to write a blog to document our journey…
Earlier this year, inspired by watching transatlantic rowers complete their journey, Dad began to think about a challenge he could set himself, to keep fit and raise money for charity.
Knowing that rowing the Atlantic would be a touch beyond him (and arguably a little crazy) and being an advocate of gender equality, he asked me if I’d be interested in joining him walk Hadrian’s wall to raise money for a charity that supports women.
I feel incredibly lucky to have a Dad who views equality as such an important issue, and after growing up surrounded by a group of ‘fiery’ women, attending all girls’ schools and now embarking on a career in psychology, it’s safe to say that women and wellbeing have always been a large part of my experience.
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to stumble across ‘women’s work’. Simply put, women’s work or ‘circles’ are spaces for women to come together and support one another. They can be as humble or as ‘woo woo’ as you like. What’s important is that they are a safe place for women to be themselves and find solace in the experience of others. These spaces, in my opinion, are no short of life changing.
However, sadness, shame and fear are unfortunately often the emotions that swell up in these spaces, and I would often ask myself “how as women do we get to this point?” If only there was something to prevent things from going so far…
That’s when Rites for Girls comes in…
Rites for Girls has created a programme called Girls Journeying Together, which supports girls (starting at around age 10) through the changes they experience through puberty. This includes topics such as your first period, practicing self care and exploring questions such as “what does beauty mean to me?”.
It’s different to school. My Mum was a teacher and we’d often have conversations about why life skills aren’t taught more extensively at school: how to manage anxiety, consciously communicate and stand up for what you believe in. It was my Mum who found Rites for Girls, shared it with us and that was when the whole project came together.
If I could travel back in time, knowing what I know now, and transform into my 11-year-old self, there isn’t a chance I wouldn’t wish to be a part of a Girls Journeying Together group. I wholeheartedly believe that these spaces are fundamental to the holistic development of girls and women, and that everyone can benefit from this work being done.
As Rites for Girls is seeking to offer groups to girls in a diverse range of communities, Dad and I have decided to set our fundraiser target at £5,720. £5,040 will give 12 girls within an Afghan refugee community in London the support of Girls Journeying Together for a whole year; an additional £680 would support me through a 3-month Girls’ Net Mentor training, so I can facilitate Girls’ Net groups online moving forwards.
If you’d like to support us, donations are warmly welcome on our Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/girlsjourney?utm_term=vgaagZJba
At its core, this project is about raising awareness around young peoples’ wellbeing, and how we can try and prevent some of the challenges they’ll face growing up.
We would be incredibly grateful to have you on this journey with us.
Jen & Trevor
Disclaimers: It wasn’t easy to pick a single charity considering everything going on in the world at the moment. However, something about Rites for Girls felt just right for us and we hope it resonates with you too. This cause felt particularly close to my heart and I believe all children deserve empowering education around topics that, let’s be honest, are an integral part of the human experience.