The Heart of a Girl

Born bright eyed and in awe of the world around her, she dreams.  She dreams of a future filled with love and expression.  A future where every one of her hearts desires, goals and dreams are fulfilled.  She holds her dreams ever so tightly, placed deep in her heart as she cultivates and nurtures what was divinely placed within her. And as this girl ages, something begins to happen, the light she once chased and held tight to begins to dim.  Life has begun to wield its unrelenting weight of obstacles, boundaries and limits. 

One thing I know to be true is that life is not created equally for everyone.  Our surroundings, economic circumstances and (the wrong) community can carry a heavy weight on our spirit.  Some girls are born into a life that requires much of their time to simply insure every day survival.  They are born into a level of poverty that only cripples opportunity and in a community that lessens the worth of their female power and/or (through ignorance) speaks the unshaken lie of “reality” over their dreams and desires.  In these dire circumstances, dreams often die at a very young age.  The hope of receiving an education or having the opportunity to fully express their God given talents and passions begin to feel utterly unattainable.

 

What would the world look like if every girl had the opportunity to allow her heart to soar? If in even the dire of circumstances, every girl was given tools to combat the “reality” that surrounds her?  What if every girl was given wings?  Can you imagine what the world would look like if every girl had her spirit fully unleashed and soaring?  Oh what a beautiful sight that would be.  What a power to behold.  I believe our world would look so incredibly different.  And that is why Hewalenamo exists today. 

 

We believe that providing an education is one of the first and most important steps in supporting the dreams of young girls all over the world. Our girls are handpicked from communities that endure obstacles, boundaries and limits. From teachers, other non-profit leaders in the area, and in some cases the girls who have graduated from our program bring to our attention girls who are not enrolled in school or who are at risk of dropping out due to financial hardship. Once identified our Student Liaison Officer completes the due diligence needed to access each individual case.

 

We provide not only the opportunity to go to receive an education we also provide the uniform, books, materials, lunch and transportation, as well as a community outreach. We were just awarded funding from the U.S. Embassy in Ghana to develop a new program, The Empowered Girl Project. This program will empower 100 girls, ages 11-15, with the tools required in order to remain in school, avoid early (childhood) marriages, prevent diseases, delay pregnancies, understand their rights, and evade violence

 

Girls from 5 schools will learn to identify and obtain community services, how to read maps and diagrams so as to meet with friends in safe places and create circles of safety and trust. The girls will learn about their human rights and understand their basic protection under the law and how to defend themselves. They will learn that there exists a network of legal support in their communities. They will also learn from local female doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and police officers.  The goal of this project is to promote gender equality/equity, re-defines potential futures for girls who otherwise might be relegated to peripheral lives within their communities thus enabling them to re-shape their communities.

Hewalenamo is dedicated to the long-term success of girls in Ghana. Therefore, we are committed to enable each girl to put her education into practice by helping each girl transition into the world beyond high school. The Post-Secondary Transitions program includes seed funding for alumnae to enter higher education, entrepreneurship and livelihood training for recent graduates. We support all of our students who qualify for continuing education through the application and admissions processes. For these girls, we provide support in the following ways:

  • University entrance exam coaching.

  • Help with applications for admission.

  • Assistance researching private and government sources of funding.

  • Small living stipends or transport costs for girls who have matriculated to higher education.

As of right now we have 4 young women who are in college. They are pursuing studies in Journalism, Accounting, Pharmacy Technicians, and Procurement. Several also have plans to open their own business so that they will be able to employ other young women so they too can break the cycle of poverty.

We also hold an Empowerment & Leadership Conference that is designed to educate, empower, and inspire girls 11-16 to continue to pursue their education and develop their leadership skills. Presenters from Ghana and the United States share on topics such as abstinence, setting goals, self-confidence and the importance of community service. Our last Conference took place over the summer and was a success. Over 80 girls attended from fishing communities around Jamestown.

So, what if every girl was given wings? Can you imagine what the world would look like if every girl had her spirit fully unleashed and soaring? We can!  And we know with your help we can provide the tools needed to make that possible.  Every donation you generously give puts us one more girl closer to achieving that very dream. Join our mission, be a part of why Hewalenamo exists today and help us make the world look so incredibly different.

Alisha Monzon