American organizer Gail Sylvia Pullen has felt a deep connection to Belize and particularly its girls and women, whom she credits for boundless compassion to her own family and countless others. She has been moved to give back, first working with a project with Special Envoy for Women and Children Kim Simplis-Barrow. This year they team up again along with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to promote an inspirational week of activities for girls and women starting from Standard 6. Gail Pullen explains the motivation behind “Girls Fly.”
Gail Sylvia Pullen – Girls Fly:
Girls Fly is a one day, in the case of Belize it will be multiple one day experiences, for invited girls and women from the local community to have an experience that empowers them into believing into their dreams, to understand the power of their dreams and to celebrate them. An example of the activity that these young girls and women will experience is that they will arrive at a local site, the Belize Elementary Auditorium, and we’ll actually celebrate their accomplishments because a part of believing in ourselves and instilling a power of belief in others is to celebrate each road mark along that journey to accomplishing your dream. So they will arrive to a really high energy celebration of their graduation from eighth grade for example. They will have opportunities to celebrate with song and dance.
And then they will also spend some time with inspirational and motivational speakers. And quite an amazing number of activities will take place during the course of the week and we are doing this to really validate Belize’s greatest treasure and that’s all of the beautiful natural resources here…but really the greatest treasure here in Belize are the people. It’s also to fulfill a commitment that I made to the first lady in 2011 because under her leadership and guidance, she really reflects—along with Miss Babb and Miss Miguel—at every level, what a girl and what a woman can accomplish if they believe in themselves. So we are going to start this first new cycle of generation of women and girls with eighth graders and that transition year from junior high into high school where they are often lost and become confused in terms of their own value and bring before them women of influence and other youth of influence that can reassure them and reaffirm them to keep going and not to give up.
The project hopes to reach 10,000 Belizean girls and women in five days, beginning on June 24 at the Belize Elementary School in Belize City and expanding countrywide in the subsequent days. Gail Pullen describes some of the topics to be addressed.
Gail Sylvia Pullen – Girls Fly:
Digital Literacy and Responsibility, Financial Literacy and Responsibility, is a part of healthy training in all women and girls’ lives. The onset of social media can be positive, or it can be used negatively. So this is an opportunity for us to address that. It affects our own self-esteem and our own levels of respect within, and how we want to be portrayed outwardly. We [will] incorporate that into the program which we’ll be working on over the next couple of days, under the leadership of people here.
Special Envoy Mrs Kim Simplis Barrow says it’s a timely intervention.
Kim Simplis Barrow – Special Envoy for Women and Children:
I’m happy to welcome Gail back again to Belize. The first project we worked on was with Project Cure, when they donated some equipment to the hospital, and U.S. Ambassador hosted the group at his residence. Now Gail connected with Doctor Babb, and I had received information from Miss Miguel about Gail wanting to come back to Belize and to do this exact project, which is inspiring our young women. Of course this is exactly what we want for our young girls. and not just for our girls, but for boys too. We definitely need to push our work with that. So I don’t want the boys to feel they’re being left out.
The event is open to girls and women in and out of school. School-age children must have their own transportation but all other costs are free.