What Is This All About?
Love Yourself: Selfie strives to create awareness and help girls in Kenya overcome insecurity and low self-esteem by providing them with an opportunity to build self-confidence. Thirty selected girls from the age of 7 to 11 are grouped together in an environment that fosters trust, encourages sharing and offers mentoring.
The girls will attend various workshops that increase self-esteem and leadership capacity. They will participate in educational and motivational workshops that help achieve excellence academically, socially, morally, physically, and emotionally.
Having demonstrated a the higher level of self-confidence, the girls will learn to internalize and harness their new found confidence while they enjoy luxurious perks, pampering and an assortment of food.
After learning and owning their new confidence, the girls will get to show off that confidence down the runway in an event that celebrates their growth.
- We know the internal strength and character traits created in girls transition from adolescence to young adulthood are necessary to develop a healthy and productive lifestyle.
- We know girls with high self-esteem and a healthy self-image are less likely to engage in high risk behaviors.
- We know in order for girls to reach their fullest potential as women, they need the influence of mature, responsible and responsive adults during their formative years.
How It All Started!
After 15 years, I traveled to Kenya to visit my family, and also celebrate my late mother’s second chance at life. But before we arrived at my grandfather’s house, my mother and I spent a considerable amount of time shopping for gifts.
My mother was a shopaholic and she couldn’t reject an opportunity to shop past closing hours. Eventually what I thought was going to be fun turned into multiplying regrets. We disagreed on every item she purchased, particularly a navy blue dress with white polka dots and a red sweater.
There were so many people when we arrived to my grandfather’s farm and among them were people who traveled far to join the celebration. And as the day progressed, I had forgotten about the gifts we bought with my mother until I saw a little girl wearing that polka dot dress and red sweater. The little girl launched toward me and said, “You look smart. Your hair looks smart.” I thought myself, “who me?”
In that moment I looked into the eyes of my seven year old cousin for the first time. In the reflection of her eyes, I saw long curly hair, makeup and expensive clothing covering my body. When I glanced harder, I saw a timid, shy girl that never thought I would notice her or appreciate the bursting beauty in her crocked smile and bald head. She spent the rest of the day following me around in that same dress and red sweater. Despite our shared language barrier, our hearts found a way to each other.
When the night grew young, she asked to see my phone. I turned on the self-video camera, told her to say “Hi.” It was in that moment I became astonished by her bright and bold smile that I had not seen before. I could tell she was amazed by the selfie technology but the smile on her face was impressionable. It was in that moment I realized how little she knew about herself or her reflection in the camera.
The time quickly came for us to leave my grandfather’s house and there she stood waving good bye. As my car drove away, I felt an identifiable conviction in my heart — I was once that shy girl who didn’t know how to love herself.Today and every day forward, I actively work to revert the damage of my childhood experience with low-self-esteem. But when I saw the smile on that little girls face, I saw a tender soul that still has a chance.
As a little girl from the village herself, my mother found a path to America, entrepreneurship and to a better life for my sister and I. She taught me those survival tactics and the most effective has been self-confidence. In her passing, I want pass on the confidence she gave me to other girls. Like my mother, I believe the first tool to success is having confidence in you.
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