“I am not Enough” is a common feeling that adolescent girls face in our country. There are many reasons behind this, including societal expectations, mindsets, and surroundings that inundate girls with responsibilities from a young age. To tackle this issue, Lokopakar conceptualized and created Strength TogetHER, a safe space that enables young adolescent girls in our community to realize their full potential by leveraging the power of sharing. We have conducted over 250+ sessions with more than 1000 girls, expanding to all seven provinces of Nepal.
In this photo essay, we want to introduce you to the girls of Banepa and give you a glimpse into their first introduction session with us.
A Peek into Our Day with Strength TogetHER
We were thrilled to start our Strength TogetHER journey at Chaitanya Higher Secondary School. For the past three years, we have been working through this program to create a safe space for girls from all over Nepal. Our session at Chaitanya Higher Secondary School was in partnership with the Zonta Club of Kathmandu, which has been an ardent supporter of Lokopakar.
We started the session early in the morning, and the excitement and curiosity among the girls were evident in their eyes. It was our first interaction with them, and there was a mixture of excitement and nervousness as they wondered how the session would unfold. We gave them a brief introduction of who we were and what we were going to do for the coming 5 weeks of engagement.
Getting to Know Each Other
We started with an introduction session to get to know each other. Initially shy, one by one, girls started coming up with the confidence to share their interests and expectations. 15 students shared it was their first time speaking in front of a crowd. It was delightful to see these girls stepping forward with confidence despite seeing new faces in the crowd. It’s always inspiring to see people overcome their fears and hesitations and take bold steps toward personal growth and development. The first session often brings about a sense of unease, particularly when girls are required to speak in front of a large crowd. However, witnessing the girls confidently step forward to speak brought me immense joy.
Delving Deep into Discussions
We discussed the topics that the girls wanted to share with each other. We came up with a variety of topics they wanted to talk about. As in every cohort, we always talk about small happiness, which is mostly related to nature or someone who brings happiness into our lives. “I get happy when I see flowers blooming in the garden. I especially like red roses. But, I like all the flowers in general.”
The session concluded with a group photo. We clicked a number of photos with the group until we will meet next week. Taking photos allows us to capture and preserve memories, moments, and emotions. When the girls join in for photos, I have noticed that they often bring new energy and perspective to the activity. Additionally, taking photos together has always helped build bonds as we share and capture experiences together. Taking photos is a powerful way to connect with each other and capture meaningful moments that can be cherished for years to come.
Closing the Day on a High Note
Like the beginning of this beautiful journey, this day was just the beginning of the amazing memories we will be making in the course of our work with the girls in the school. During our discussions, we provided a brief overview of our identities and the activities we would be conducting over the next 5 weeks during our engagement with the group.
Despite initial shyness, the girls gradually gained confidence and approached us one by one to share their interests and expectations. This experience filled me with joy, as we were successful in creating a comfortable and safe