Real Girls, Real Stories
Victoria Justice Day 2 • • Guatemala, Latin America
Diary by Girl Up Champion, Victoria Justice (pictured right)
On my second day in Guatemala with Girl Up, we started with a visit to Lacama (a rural village high in the mountains). To get there we had to drive through really narrow dirt roads along steep cliffs with no barricades (not gonna lie … it was scary).
Many of the Mayan girls in that area grow up with the idea that they are not equal to the boys.
The program I observed there teaches them to be strong through self esteem, which has taught them to express themselves without being afraid. I talked with three teen mentors, and they told me how much the program means to them. In just three months that the program has been in effect, the changes have been huge. Girls who would not answer questions when they first came to the program are now teaching other girls how to speak up.
We also played games, and while we laughed, I was reminded that girls are the same everywhere.
In another town, the “Friendly Spaces” program focuses on teaching girls to be healthy and safe. It gives them a place to go after school to be safe, to just be girls, and to plan for their futures.
The last program I observed today was a literacy program. We talked about the importance of education, and I learned how they are learning to read and write, which will help them improve their lives for themselves and their communities.
More to come tomorrow…Vic
Read the final entry of Victoria's travel diary here!