In early September 2022, 312 of the participants in our “Be that Girl” empowerment & education program gathered with their 13 mentors and 4 of Zambia’s most successful female leaders and performers for our 2nd annual program conference.
The conference theme, “Dream Wildly”, focused on empowering each girl to know that, despite her circumstances, she has the right to dream and pursue her dreams. These young women and their mentors traveled from across Zambia to join together in a 3-day celebration of community, love, growth, and empowerment.
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
For many of the girls, this event was their first opportunity to see the scope of our “Be That Girl” program and to know of the community who is supporting and advocating for them. Many of the girls shared how this opportunity to gather together gave them strength, courage, and excitement for the future.
Since partnering with the Be That Girl Foundation in 2020 to expand our girls empowerment initiatives, we have been privileged to provide education and mentorship to 376 young women in Zambia. At this year’s conference, we were proud to celebrate 7 girls who graduated from our “Be That Girl” program! It was a beautiful weekend of empowerment, growth, and love!
So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.
– Christopher Reeve
Read about our Director of Construction’s experience attending the conference in Zambia.
REFLECTIONS ON THE 2022 BE THAT GIRL CONFERENCE
Written by Phillip Miner
I was privileged to attend the Be That Girl Conference in 2022. I had heard last year’s conference was an amazing success and I could clearly see the excitement and anticipation of all around me as this year’s event drew near; but, I couldn’t possibly have imagined how truly great this conference would really be.
I can’t possibly over emphasize how impressive the event was. The quality of the speakers blew my mind!! What incredibly inspiring role models!! The guests included Angela Nyirenda (one of most successful female musical artists in Zambian history), Mizinga Melu (accountant & bank executive), Jane Nakasamu (entrepreneur), and Thokozike Muwamba (aircraft pilot). Each is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards some internationally some locally, all impressive and inspiring. These were women of the highest caliber.
They shared with such transparency and honesty that the packed convention hall felt like a private living room. There was a clear sense that these amazing women speakers understood the gravity of their message and the audience it was being offered to. Likewise, it was abundantly clear that the audience was equally aware of the opportunity they had been given to be there. Each individual in attendance seemed to be glued to every word that was spoken. This cooperation between speaker and audience elevated the experience to a point that could not have been achieved with any less from either party. It was incredibly humbling for me to be a witness to such synergy.
During the few brief intermissions, I witnessed the most dignified/intimidating of speakers in their professional dresses, and suites mingling with the girls. Accomplished professional women were looking these underprivileged girls in the eyes and speaking personal tid-bits that must surely stay with those girls for a lifetime. The girls responded exuberantly when, on at least five different occasions, the entire room broke out into a spontaneous dance party with mentors, girls, staff members, and speakers alike. No one was immune to the draw of the music and the energy in the room. The mentors and speakers were laughing with them, singing with them, and dancing with them shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart.
How many times have I been to conferences where I knew the speaker left the building immediately after having given his or her 20 minutes that they were contracted for? Well, not here. Each speaker stayed the full day. They listened and were themselves visibly inspired by their peers on the stage and by the audience members. There was a clear sense of being a part of something magical and life changing for all in attendance.
I want to thank all who made it possible. The speakers who spoke so openly about the difficulties and victories they faced along the road to their current level of success. The dreams they continue to hold for their own futures and those they inspired in all other attendees. Thanks to the mentors who love, push, and inspire the girls all year long. The staff members who worked so hard ensuring the logistics were taken care of, three different hotels were occupied, transportation was arranged from nearby compounds to remote villages hundreds of miles away. The list of details attended to would fill pages.
Thanks to the girls themselves. Not only did they have to work very hard all year to earn the privilege to attend this conference but while there, they were diligently attentive, joyfully playful, sincerely inquisitive, and utterly impressive.
There are truly no words to capture the magic that was shared there and that will be remembered by all who were in attendance for years to come. May this tradition of excellence continue for many years to come is my sincerest of prayers.