Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.
-Marian Wright Edelman
After eight or so years of working with young women in need globally I realized about a year ago that something was seriously missing in the services we were providing as an organization. Yes, we were getting incredible results and the girls were doing truly moving things. However, there was half of our population that was not involved in the conversation and a shift has never worked optimally with only 50% of it's membership working together.
When I started Passion Foundation, innovative education around leadership was seriously missing for young women. I wanted to provide girls and young women with a platform for them to tap into their inner geniuses, their confidence and give them an opportunity to show people what incredible ideas and possibilities they can create. And they did, in spades. From prison walls to the United Nations Intl School in Hanoi, the girls created projects that were and are shifting their communities. However, as I watched how things were progressing on a global front with women I started to see boys become more aware of their emotions, thinking differently and with their masculinity threatened as girls became stronger, more vocal, more empowered. With women and girls becoming stronger we didn't see a decrease in violence, we saw an increase. I saw boys scared of "losing" their power and not knowing what to do. And as a result, I committed myself to changing the dialogue between men and women, girls and boys.
A year ago a proposal was brought to the board to change our mandate, our name and increase our capacity. My ambition was to decrease violence and self harm in our world by creating a movement that included innovative leadership education for girls and boys. The idea is that they do their learning in a gender neutral environment evidentially (baby steps) however we would start by gender specific learning and then a collaboration on their community projects so we can start to shift the discussion and challenge the norm of engagement by working through problems as they were having them, not when it was too late.
In Late October we held a small event in Vancouver, BC to launch this next step. It was a powerful evening of story telling, networking and creating new partnerships. We also premiered the trailer to the Global Sorority documentary we have been making for the last four years within eight countries.
We can't wait for you to join us on this journey. In November, we'll be heading into the Northwest Territories for our first boys and girls program thanks to Eileen Fisher Vancouver.
A BIG thank you goes to McCarthy Tetrault's Claire Sung and the team for being our pro bono legal team! We could not make this happen without you, your dedication and continuous support to our work over the last nine years!