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Case Study: Girls Home Leadership Programme
“I learnt everything I didn’t know” (quote)
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The TEA Project supports a Girls Home in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. We became concerned at a sudden change in behaviour of the girls. The formerly happy, energetic and outgoing girls had become disengaged, isolated and detached. A suicide attempt, bullying, severe infighting between the girls and an increasing lack of motivation to participate in our weekly ‘Girls Group’ raised alarm bells and inspired us to plan a tailored training programme facilitated ‘off-site’ for the girls.

Copyright The TEA Project
The girls are placed at the orphanage for multiple reasons, many have been sexually abused, removed from home due to neglect and some families are simply too poor to safely care for their children. In the government orphanage girls are protected, receive regular meals and have a structured daily routine. However little emphasis is given to emotional health and well-being, the girls are starved of stimulation, self-expression and are not prepared for life post 18-years when they must leave the orphanage and live independently.

We ran a 2-day leadership programme called ‘L.I.F.E. Training’ (Leadership, Independence, Futures & Empowerment) with 16 girls aged between 9 and 16 years. A local government school attended by some of the girls in Kandy donated their facilities during a weekend which helped to create a positive training environment away from the orphanage. The training was facilitated by two strong and positive female Sri Lankan role models; a professional Volunteer and TEA Project Worker delivered the training in the girls mother tongue of ‘Sinhala’ .“You provided answers to our personal problems, gave us solutions; also you gave your maximum support to improve our talents and skills.”

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The training aimed to empower and give skills to the girls with leadership qualities. The girls worked in unity planning presentations and role plays, they learnt about international children’s rights, qualities of ‘strong women’, they set personal goals and talked in depth about their personal experiences and the trials and tribulations of daily life at the orphanage.
“I got many things from the programme, how to control my anger, helping others when they are in trouble. I love this project.”

The girls commented they had never shared experiences with one another before, and felt “relaxed” after being given the opportunity to talk openly and “listened to for the first time.” The girls shared their personal stories and began to empathise and appreciate each other, they talked about sisterhood and developed a list of basic rules to help them live together in unity. “You taught us how to face challenges and overcome fear, identify my weaknesses, this has changed me, before I understand others I must understand myself.”
Outcome of the training:
A self-reflection evaluation was completed by asking the girls the same series of questions before and after the training.
✓ 98% of girls said they were better at speaking in front of an audience
✓ 43% of girls said their communication skills had improved
✓ 100% of girls said they were better at listening to others after the training
✓ 50% said they now felt positive that they could make a change to the girls home
✓ 100% said they now feel positive about their future