The TEA Project has worked at a local Girls Home in Kandy for 2-years; in recent months we've become concerned at the sudden change in behavior of the girls. Generally engaging, energetic and outgoing the girls have become isolated and detached. There has been a suicide attempt, bullying, severe infighting and an increasing lack of motivation to participate in our weekly ‘Girls Group’. This raised alarm bells and inspired us to plan a tailored training programme facilitated just for the girls. 'Girls United'.
We ran 2-days of our leadership programme, ‘L.I.F.E Training’. Over a weekend 16 girls aged between 9 and 16 years attended. A local school from The TEA Project's ‘School Network’ kindly donated the facilities helping to create a positive training environment away from the orphanage. The training was delivered by two strong female role models; a professional volunteer TEA-cher and our Project Worker; both local and able to deliver the programme completely in native ‘Sinhala’.
The training aimed to empower and en-skill the girls with leadership qualities. The girls worked in unity planning presentations and role plays, learnt about international children’s rights, qualities needed for being ‘strong women’, they set personal goals, talked in depth and openly about difficult personal experiences and the trials of life at the orphanage.
The girls commented they had never shared experiences with one another before, how they felt “relaxed” after being given the opportunity to talk openly and felt “listened to for the first time”. Shared personal stories and enabled the girls to understand and appreciate each other. They talked about sisterhood and developed a list of basic rules to work together on to help one another.
A number of serious concerns about the girl’s home including physical and mental abuse came to light. These concerns were logged; the stories and incidents will be related directly to senior managers at the girl's home. The TEA Project saw that issues were addressed effectively and that the girls were heard.
The training helped us to re-shape the projects weekly girls group into a 'focus group' aimed at giving the girls a platform to talk, be heard and make positive change.