Special to the LOGOS
While most students and professors from the University of the Incarnate Word took the summer to get away from the classroom, a team from the Women’s Global Connection taught girls in Africa.
The team taught “Girls Education: Starting a Business Workshop” to a group of high school students at Hekima Girls’ School in Bukoba, Tanzania, from June 27 to June 30.
The workshop, sponsored by the WGC, a ministry of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word was part of an annual immersion trip to Tanzania.
The team — including Dr. Tere Dresner-Salinas, the WGC’s executive director; Dr. Michael Guiry, an associate professor of marketing at UIW; Dr. Alison Buck, an adjunct professor with the Dreeben School of Education; and Dreeden doctoral student Liz Holbrook – also conducted workshops in villages for members of the Bukowa Women’s Empowerment Association, helped celebrate the 10th anniversary of the association, and participated in the opening of a new soy-grinding machine during the immersion trip which lasted June 22-July 4.
At Hekima Girls’ School, the team followed a curriculum created by Keystone School senior Emily Cavazos.
This workshop curriculum encouraged students at this all-girl, Catholic boarding school to examine concepts of entrepreneurship and then create a business plan for the type of business each participant wanted to pursue.
Hekima students live in a place where considering career opportunities is a relatively recent possibility for women. They attended classes outside of their normal school calendar, participated in activities and dedicated outside time to studying materials from the workshop.
WGC’s mission to promote the learning and leadership capacity of women in least-advantaged regions of the world has created a strong bond over the years with Hekima, which shares a mission to empower girls as they grow into women.
Aware that an American high school student created this curriculum, Hekima’s students recorded their learning experiences for Cavazos.
“Now, almost all Hekima girls will become entrepreneurs,” one girl said. Another said she believes she “will become a good businesswoman in the future.”
“If we are empowered we can do anything and achieve our goals in the future,” said another.
For Cavazos, this venture originated as a project for the Girl Scouts of America-Girl Scout Gold Award. Besides hearing the positive things the girls had to say about the workshop, she is even more aware of the impact of interacting with students half a world away.
“I believe Women’s Global Connection is an amazing organization and I am so glad that I was able to provide a program and be a part of their wonderful work,” Cavazos said.