Two hours a week just wasn’t enough. Elvira and the young girls she counsels needed more time to talk about body image, self-esteem, and career goals; topics they can’t discuss with their family or at school.
“The problem isn’t that they don’t want to listen or learn, rather, there aren’t many opportunities for them to get this information,” said 21-year-old, Elvira. “I want to do my best to create a space for them to get answers.”
Elvira leads Girls Talk, a program for adolescent girls at Global Fund for Women grantee partner, Women’s Resource Center in Armenia. The program reaches younger women, especially those living outside the capital.
She started taking language classes at the Center when she was 18, then started volunteering. Elvira translated sexual and reproductive health classes taught by an English-speaking nurse, and founded a psychology club. Then, she was asked to start her own program. Each session starts with a lesson, followed by a group discussion and artistic activity. Because of the program’s success and high attendance, Elvira added hours to the program.
“My happiness is my girls,” said Elvira. “They are clever and enthusiastic. The power and energy they share energizes me.”
Elvira says that in Armenia, men are the decision makers. Although Armenia's Constitution and laws guarantee equality of all citizens, discriminatory social and cultural norms, combined with a lack of awareness about women’s rights, perpetuates gender inequality.
To change social attitudes, Elvira organized a march with boys and girls to show her community that young people are just “small, big people” working together for change. To get the voices of young women heard, Elvira also teaches digital storytelling and video editing.
Our experience shows that connecting and enabling young women sparks changes in society, and increases the effectiveness and sustainability of women’s movements. That’s why we, with help from the Nike Foundation's Grassroots Girls Initiative (GGI), support Women’s Resource Center programs like Girls Talk.
Our network of grantee partners and advisors have long established that women with experiences like Elvira’s are motivated to assume leadership positions and play a more significant role in the progress of their country.
“I think a girl can do anything! She just needs to believe in herself,” said Elvira.