Shine is about equipping girls with the knowledge and skills to discover who they are and the person they want to become. It also hopes to offer girls new, proactive positions to construct stories of identity in which they discover a new way to speak about what they value and treasure in their lives. As many young people in communities like ours do not know or believe they are valuable and unique individuals, most struggle to find acceptance amongst their peers and genuine meaning for their life.
A common mindset amongst young people is that ‘If I am not of much value, then life doesn’t have much purpose’. This inevitably creates a sense of ‘living for the moment’ with little regard for consequences or the future. The impact of this ‘meaninglessness of life’ and loss of hope is made apparent by the fact that the youth suicide rate continues to increase worldwide as well as the rise of prostitution and human trafficking of minors. Lack of purpose instils negative mindsets in the lives of youth and can subsequently control the way they perceive their future. The break-up of the family unit,concerns of body image, coping with stress and young people believing they have little worth or nothing to contribute have far-reaching implications – both immediate and long-term.
We aren’t trying to put a band-aid, we are attempting to shift culture one life, one community at a time. Shine encourages participants to find the strength and courage within themselves to make healthy choices and live to their full potential. The program is not aimed at stereotyping what girls should be like or how they should behave, but using a holistic approach, it reinforces that every girl is different and has different strengths, qualities, and skills. Sharing knowledge to open conversations about the uniqueness of each person is a direct affront to the dominant ideas of what makes one beautiful.