This is probably the only entry that is made at the most absurd timing (12:12 am right now!) I couldn't get to sleep, tossing and turning; thinking, imaging, brainstorming, and imagining again…*
Why you may ask. Well…I wrote a small project a few weeks back and I was so pleased when it was accepted recently. When I was writing the proposal I had Kurdish girls in mind. Not the Kurdish girl who has a coffee at Costa and shops at Family Mall before going to the J&K or Harveen fitness centers. But the Kurdish girl who is full of potential, dreams and ambition, but sadly she is held back by social forces or opportunities surrounding her. The girl who probably can’t afford to have the luxuries that others have, but her mind and thoughts goes well beyond many others.
It is a project not just of empowerment (which has been my main focus with male and female youth previously), but also self esteem, the spirit of volunteering, hygiene, lifestyle, future plans, social relations; confronting family and community, making decisions, planning their daily lives and so on- in one short word it is life skills for young Kurdish girls, all through games, activities and group discussions. The aim is to do this four-hour workshop in as many high schools as possible throughout Erbil and its surrounding areas. And we are going to start with the high school I visited today (well now that it is past 12, technically it was yesterday).
Above: I definately believe healthy girls will lead to a healthy community, even in Kurdistan
This afternoon I went to one of the oldest girls schools in Erbil. Despite everything I saw, I would like to refer to the experience as a positive one. I met the girls; we spoke in each of their class rooms. Initially I wanted 20 students, but I realized there will be over 200 who I will have to take. They were all interested! Most of them wanted to take part! And we weren't going to refuse anyone!
I had a plan for the workshop "Girl and Proud!" But here I am, past midnight and my mind is being bombarded with many ideas and thoughts. I am making alterations to the initial plan, as a result of today's observations.
For the first time I feel nervous. I want the four hours to have as much as a positive impact on the life of as many of the students as possible. I want to provide them with the atmosphere to speak out their silent thoughts, their fears and also give them a chance to believe in their dreams. I have the chance to do this, a few weeks back I felt shattered that for certain reasons I couldn’t do my masters-and had to postpone- but right now I feel like if this is successful, it will be a master's of its own. It has been my dream to be able to do something like this. I am going to do my best, because I want the best, and I know they deserve only the best.
* So I decided to listen to some Kurdish songs (this one is Karim Kaban- don't ask!!! I like it, the one before was Hama Jaza), grab the lap top and make this entry- in the hope that someone will read it, and if no one does (there is always mum!!) it is okay.
** Picture from girlsinc.org