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Nurture a girl, raise a nation

INSPIRATIONAL: Womanhood Academy

“WE’VE ALWAYS seen a need for young girls; for their voices to be empowered,” said Peaches Cadogan, one of the founders of Womanhood Academy. This programme offers a plethora of services and mentorships to girls, giving them guidance in the long road from adolescence to womanhood.

The launch of the Womanhood Academy - founded by Camille Van Dyke, Rouchelle Mclean, Michelle Thorney, Angela Rose and Tieyone Hall-Andrews - is an intense 32 week programme, adhering to principles within their ‘Urban Rites of Passage’.

Camille Van Dyke, one of the founders, spoke about the analogy of a flower they’ll be using for the girls; the seed, the roots, the stem, the petals and the blossom. They will be using each aspect to help guide and develop the young girls into the flowers they are.

The Academy is equipped with core values and beliefs that have a traditional African undertone. Along with that, Womanhood Academy will be appointing different professional mentors for the girls, to meet up and liaise once a month.

All the women involved have worked and continue to work with young people, and have attained an array of skills that they’ll use with the girls. “Sometimes, the young boys and men that attend Manhood Academy have physical scars, however, a lot of the girls will be coming to us with internal scars,” said Rouchelle Mclean, another founder of Womanhood Academy.

“We want to create a non-judgemental place where sisterhood is formed. So as the service develops, we can tackle the mental, emotional and physical elements of the girls and young women.”

Angela Rose, another Womanhood Academy founder, stated that most of the girls and young women’s makeup is socially conditioned. They often build themselves by what they see on social media or online itself. The Academy aims to strip those layers away, they are able to know their own mind and know there is only one unique them.

When asking what the ultimate goal the founders have for Womanhood Academy, all the women smiled and said “a global affair.

A universal service for every young girl and woman worldwide”. Michelle Thorney, another founder expressed the desire to do what Manhood Academy has done, and take Womanhood Academy to Gambia. “We want to forge a deep and strong sisterhood that will help guide the girls through their development.”

Tieyone Hall-Andrews spoke about how they want this to turn into a business model that can be provided to all. “We need people, businesses etc. who are willing to invest in the programme”.

On speaking to a Manhood Academy founder, Khonsu Sankofan, he spoke about how there is an equilibrium now. “It’s all come full circle since the launch of Manhood Academy”.

Creating Manhood Academy was a way to highlight that the road from boy to man is never easy. There are lessons that not everyone has at hand, Manhood Academy is the place to learn them. It’s also a place to give the young boys and men the platform they need to make their voices heard.

Womanhood Academy can now work alongside Manhood Academy to try and effect as much change for the future of young people, as possible.

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