I cannot bring world peace or stop the ice caps melting but I can help make the next generation of mothers stronger and happier.
There are many things that distress me: families walking miles to escape what’s happening at home, girls mutilated and forced into marriage, polar bears losing their habitat, teenage girls starving and cutting themselves… the list goes on. Mostly I’m filled with a sense of my powerlessness to do anything about any of it. But still I wake up in the mornings with a sense of purpose because there is one area where I really can make a difference. I can make life easier, kinder, safer and better supported for teenage girls. I’ve figured out how: by offering preteen girls support right at the start of adolescence, preparing them for puberty and giving them tools for how to manage the storm of emotions that come their way in the preteen and teen years. Also giving them a safe place to be themselves, no need to fit in, a space to experiment with new ways of being; to dress, say and do what feels right to them. To learn from an elder woman who isn’t their mother but who cares about them deeply, and a group of peers who accept them. They make friends for life.
This can transform the future of these girls. Some say it got them through their teens, others say they ended up doing things they’d never have dared, and one or two have gone on to mentor young girls themselves.
Training to offer this to girls is no small thing. It takes courage as women take themselves back to heal their childhood hurts, so they can become the woman that their 12-year-old girl needed. Women join forces, a circle of support for one another, so that they can then give the girls this same experience of being held in a circle of affection and acceptance. We cannot give what we do not have ourselves. So, we talk together and cry together and eat together until our paths are interwoven as we strengthen the pathway towards womenhood that we are offering to the girls.
Many women feel the call to really make a difference to the lives of girls, helping them to grow into the wonderful women they have the potential to become. Rites for Girls International Facilitator Training offers women a way to do this.