JANUARY 21, 2022

8 Truths About Empowering Girls

VEERAH celebrated the She's The First Power Party with poet Amanda Gorman, fashion force Anna Wintour, supermodel Imaan Hammam, and many other inspiring women.

We have been a long-time supporter of She's The First (learn more about the founders and the important work they do here and here).  That's why we couldn't be prouder of the community as She’s The First celebrates its first-ever virtual gala, The Power Party. It raised over $145,229 through donations and auctions (including VEERAH’s Lucy Mules!) In line with these, let's also celebrate the beautiful truths about what girls can achieve when they're empowered and supported!

Every girl has the right to be educated, heard, and respected.

She's The First Power Party - VEERAH shoes

Every time this was said during the event, we cheered in affirmation. This rings true in every community that She’s The First has partnered with. There is no better time than now to break gender stereotypes and lead communities for girls. They need to be heard and valued, and we need everyone regardless of age, gender, and status in life to take action for them and with them, because when a girl has an education, a mentor, and the support of her community, she truly is unstoppable. You go, girl! 

 “My story isn’t unique. It’s just what happens when girls and women get an education and a fair chance. They make their dreams come true. May they, too, conquer their dreams.” 

She's The First Power Party - Sirjana Singh

The story of Sirjana Singh, She’s The First Youth Ambassador and Inspiration Award Nominee, proves that education for girls can change lives and make an impact beyond one’s self. It’s inspiring to hear how hard she worked to build a future for herself despite her parents’ traditional view of women as inferior to men. She graduated at the top of her class and made it to the National Women’s Football team in Nepal, and this inspired other girls in her community! Sirjana is truly a leader, on the field and in life.

It only takes one "first" girl to empower others to be their own pioneer.

She's The First Power Party - Amanda Gorman

There's no better way to illustrate the point than with this excerpt from “The Power of Firsts” by Amanda Gorman, Inaugural Poet and #1 New York Times Bestselling author:

"After all
You don’t know how strong the willow tree is until
You see her arms dance in the face of the storm.
We remember this and
more so that we might imagine
a day for the girl without such firsts,
Where the wind opens the floodgate
for the river of women behind her.
We are here
not to be the first
but to refuse to be
the last.”

“All girls have the right to lead. They have the right to be at the decision-making tables, they have the right to be involved in leadership positions without the fear of getting discriminated against.”

We agree 1000%! We need more girls to have a voice in the room, and a vote at the table when it comes to matters impacting their lives. Girls are capable and ready to lead.

She's The First Power Party - Girls Get Loud

We all know this to be true, but we are also aware that there is still a lack of female representation where it is most needed — leadership. It’s awesome that platforms like She’s The First Girls Get Loud allow a space where girls can express their opinions about decisions directly affecting them.

Behind a powerful girl is a mentor.

She's The First Power Party - VEERAH shoes

The importance of mentoring girls resonated with us. Having a mentor provides a safe space not only for education, but also for active listening, especially to young girls who are just starting to find their voices. A quote from the event said it best:

“Being powerful means that you decide to be it. This means that you make your voice be valued. It also means to have the courage to break the paradigm and overcome obstacles, and always keep your head up high.” 

Girls deserve a future they determine for themselves.

She's The First Power Party - Girls Not Mothers

"Girls Not Mothers" is a video series and a form of activism undertaken by the girls of Kusi Kawsay Andean School in Pisac, Peru. It's a powerful message for the Peruvian government, urging officials to take action against gender and domestic violence to which indigenous and peasant women are especially susceptible.

“All of us have the responsibility to advocate for girls because we are going to be the future. Therefore, we are capable of doing a lot of things to improve our world.” We got chills just listening to how these girls fought against a backward mindset to move forward every girl into a better future. Way to go, brave souls! 

We are our most powerful selves when we share our power with one another.

She's The First Power Party - Anna Wintour

We were thrilled when Anna Wintour, Vogue’s Global Editorial Director and Editor-In-Chief, appeared on the screen during the party. Anna introduced Imaan Hammam, supermodel and She’s the First Global Ambassador, and shared her story about helping girls advocate for themselves.

She's The First Power Party - Imman HammamShe's The First Power Party - Imaan Hammam

Imaan experienced bullying at a young age and had a hard time in the fashion industry. Stylists didn’t know what to do with her hair and there was no available makeup to complement her skin tone at the time, but she didn’t let it dampen her resolve to succeed. Instead, she decided that she was going to be herself and not try to fit into the industry’s mold. She wanted to share this with young girls all over the world, and challenge themselves to dream as big as they can.

“I may have a million followers, but you don’t have to have a million followers to use your voice and to really be a changemaker for girls all around the world.” We stan a bold, confident spirit! 

Girls can go places with economic empowerment.

She's The First Power Party - Hara Bangura

Hara Bangura of Sierra Leone is a She’s The First Community Hero. Hara taught a community of girls in her hometown how to fund their education by making and selling artwork and jewelry. They formed the Grafton Girls Entrepreneurship Initiative to help girls financially support their families.

Her own mentor in Project Pikin, led by She’s the First, had encouraged Hara to use what she learned from the program to provide for herself, and she started making hand beads and Ankara slippers for her community. For Hara, this means economic empowerment for their community and a pillar of support for one other. “In our mentorship session, they have taught us the importance of girls leading in their community, and how they give a voice for others. I want to be that voice that will speak for others who cannot.” 

She's The First Power Party - Nabifo Rose

Nabifo Rose is another Community Hero and a Peer Educator of girls at the Arlington Junior School in Cigoro, Uganda. Nabifo started the Hunger Project in her community when she realized that they were suffering from higher rates of hunger than ever before. She mobilized girls to work with her in using a piece of land for farming vegetables, which they pack and send to the community. 

Nabifo recognized that her goals for her community involve a lot of hard work, but armed with creativity and compassion, she is determined to continue what she has started. “I played my part and I said, ‘I have the knowledge, I have the body, I have the legs, and I have the hands, and I am capable of doing whatever I can do.’”

We're delighted to have seen and heard all of the honorees’ stories, all of whom are deserving of recognition.

All the images are from the virtual event. Wish you could've joined the Power Party? You can watch the video here!

Discover how you can support She’s The First initiatives on their website and Instagram.

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