“From now on we will stop saying THEY ARE JUST GIRLS,” girls and boys shouted in chorus during the celebration of the International Women’s Day last March 9 at RTR stage and plaza.
The GCL and young FFLA players – both girls and boys participated various activities in each of the five stations prepared by FundLife coaches and guest facilitators who are also known as advocates of women empowerment in their own field of work.
Across several different activities, children learned about the current situation of the Philippines in terms of abuse and violence against women and young children. They were also made aware of the laws that guard and protect women and children from harm. Such sessions were facilitated by Julie Ruth Martija, a Registered Social Worker working in the Municipality of Dulag under the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“Young girls and women empowerment starts at home. As young as you are, you need to be aware that you are not JUST a girl. You are a girl and you can do what boys can do. Stop belittling your capabilities just because the people around you think you are weak and incapable," Martija lectured the curious children after watching a short video.
“The power of Words,” was the theme for another activity. Former FFLA Coach, Patrina Kaye Caceres now an instructor in Eastern Visayas State University facilitated the sharing between boys and girls shared with one another the hurtful or demeaning words and remarks that they said or heard directed to young girls and women. After the sharing, they were taught to transform these sentences into positive compliments or words of encouragement for themselves (the girls) and for other women.
“This activity is somewhat different from what we usually have during the FFLA session. Today we learned how to appreciate the good things that the girls can do because this will help them believe in what they can do.” Kent Gabriel Moreto, a player from PNHS
Other activities were faciliated by coach JP’s and coach Jhean football session on empowerment. They used drills to highlight how boys and girls can help encourage gender equality in their own environment. Arsenal coach Brad also supported coach Jhean in ensuring that the drills are well executed and that everyone was able to participate.
Finally, girls and boys were introduced to the the freedom wall - where everyone, including the coaches were asked to draw and write positive characteristics of women they admire. They also dedicate messages to women or girls who influence children like them positively. It was later found out that most of the dedications were for the children's mother, older sisters, and teachers.
As a sign of empowerment girls received dignity bracelets that were hand made by coaches, the guest facilitators and some of the players.
For FundLife, IWD was not only about empowering girls to drive a more balanced society, it was also about empowering boys to help girls from their communities and from their schools– because for us it’s not a question of girls vs boys, it’s an answer of girls and boys working together for more balanced societies.