I often wonder to myself what the magic is: Five days, almost 40 hours, 25 girls, three peer education trainers and a few lovely sponsors. The result? Life changing. They say it themselves.
I always tell my close circle of friends if I had a reliable income to live on I would do peer education sessions everyday, all year around, voluntarily. It’s not easy. In fact, it’s tiring, you have to be alert all the time, full of energy and even though you have left an unwell child at home with your father, who himself has a million appointments, you have to forget it all and smile, putting in your best for the participants. Sometimes its tough. But when you observe and feel the result within the youth it is so fulfilling. For me, peer education training course fill that craving inside you that nothing else can fill.
This peer education training was a little different. For the first time I asked for private company sponsors. Right away the lovely Arazu from Berverly’s asked to meet, and she funded all our meals during the five-day training. Beautiful Lesley and UKH provided the Amercian Corner as our venue. We loved it despite the heat sometimes. Alan at AM Studios took care of the poster and certificate designs while El Mesalla funded all the stationery (and support future sessions the girls may undertake).
For me, when it comes to these training courses I don’t expect five star service. That in itself is against our entire aim. We go for simplicity. Simple food, simple environment, simple necessities and it is the quality of our talks, activities, sessions that end up being the five-star standards.
I have put together a quick video of our training that you can find on this page. I have also posted it on Youtube, and pasted below.
The girls we had in this training were mostly fresh high school graduates or first/second year university students. I don’t feel comfortable speaking about how great the training is and how positively it was received by the participants, or how their lives was changed (or wasn’t). they should speak themselves. But what I can say with complete confidence is that myself, Huda and Rasti, who co-founded and undertook these sessions felt satisfaction, and the three of us agree by day five we had confident girls who were ambitious, full of dreams, self confidence and eager to do volunteer work.
All I have to do is at the end of the day look at Snapchat or WhatsApp group to read the hundreds of messages among the girls–now all friends. They encourage one another, show support and share activities and events among themselves. They take every opportunity thrown at them, or they try. And they keep asking me how they can be active, how they can take part. All these girls need is a hand to hold in their very first activity. After that they will fly all on their own.
I, alongside other peer educators in the country, are determined to involve these girls and hopefully many others too in as many activities as possible until they can do the same to other youth.
Lots of love from
My Nest in Kurdistan
*We can never generalize, like all training course there are always different participants who are influenced differently. However, this is an overall observation relating to majority of attendees.