Pouvwa Tifi! Girl Power! Girls from Colorado Gather for Inaugural GEM Ambassador Meeting

A group of 15 girls from Colorado gathered on Sunday, September 30th at the Posner Center for International Development in Denver for the inaugural meeting of ambassadors to CHP’s Girls Empowerment and Mentoring (GEM) Program. The meeting involved numerous activities for attendees to get to know one another, learn about the girls living in Petit Trou de Nippes, and brainstorm future activities as a group.

 “Pouvwa Tifi” translates to “Girl Power” in Haitian Kreyol. The lightning strike charm symbolizes strength and power.

“Pouvwa Tifi” translates to “Girl Power” in Haitian Kreyol. The lightning strike charm symbolizes strength and power.

The afternoon kicked off with a chance for the ambassadors to socialize while making necklaces to give as gifts to the girls in Haiti. The necklaces carried encouraging messages of solidarity; each was decorated with a lightning strike charm to symbolize strength and power. When the necklaces were finished, the girls hung each on a paper tag reading “Pouwva Tifi, Girl Power”.

As the girls were crafting, a group of their mothers and other adult friends of CHP attended a separate information session focused on how they could be involved with the GEM Ambassador Project. (The idea for the ambassador network formed in response to many of CHP’s extended family of U.S.-based supporters expressing an interest in building meaningful friendships with the girls that CHP works with in Haiti.) The adults and girls then convened for a presentation about CHP and the GEM Program. This was followed by a small group activity exploring the commonalities and differences the girls in Colorado and Petit Trou de Nippes experience in daily life.

The attendees shared many thoughtful anecdotes about their own lives and were greatly curious about the experiences of the girls in Haiti. They posited that all girls—no matter their home country—wonder what they will be when they grew up, love friendships and laughter, and want to go to school to learn. Some participants reflected on gender based discrimination around the world, saying that girls are treated differently than boys in all countries.

 Some of the young ambassadors had previously met at CHP’s Annual Farm Dinner in early September.

Some of the young ambassadors had previously met at CHP’s Annual Farm Dinner in early September.

Participants also reflected about times they have felt disempowered, and times they have felt the opposite—proud, confident, and powerful. They wondered what girls in Haiti would have to say to the same exercise. A brainstorming discussion for future steps of the ambassador program quickly emerged, with ideas that included letter (and possibly video) exchanges, learning sessions on women’s rights around the world, and a viewing of the documentary Girl Rising.

The adult women in the room remarked at the end of the meeting how inspired they felt by the girl ambassadors’ passion and vision. Jackie Martin and Elizabeth Dowling, both board members and organizers of the ambassador meeting, hope to build on the energy and excitement of the afternoon and schedule the next meeting soon. We at CHP are all so proud of these young women ambassadors and can’t wait to see how their promising ideas evolve!

Do you know a girl interested in joining this class of ambassadors or are you an adult interested in supporting them in their journey? Please contact Jackie Martin at: jmartin@coloradohaitiproject.org




Wynn Walent