By Dr. Carol Labor, Purposeful Senior Advisor — Collective Care.
“Bloom where you are. Bloom despite the weeds and grow tall and beautiful anyways. Bloom where you are even if you wish you were elsewhere. Take in all of the light when the sun is shining and know that the rain is necessary when it’s not. Know that everything you need to bloom is right inside of you — you already have the strength and capability to grow. Nourish your body and take care of your mind. Keep learning and growing. Let your true colors shine. Bloom.” Nikki Banas
The work we do at Purposeful to remake the world with and for girls is intentional. Our work is gender-specific and survivor-centered. The aim of the Take Your Daughter to Work Day Sierra Leone initiative was to empower girls in Sierra Leone to bloom where they are, to provide a glimpse — hope if I may — of the possibilities of choosing professional careers in non-traditional roles as women. Girls in Sierra Leone are exposed to environmental factors and inequalities that shape and impact the trajectory of their lives. In a country where many women and girls are survivors of some form of sexual and/or gender-based violence, girls are insulated by oppression rooted in patriarchy.
The Take Your Daughter to Work Day Sierra Leone initiative provided opportunities for girls to reimagine the world outside livelihoods embedded in cultural norms and traditions. Individually and collectively, we are on a journey to reject traditional roles and decolonise healing, even in the midst of inequalities, inequities, and inconsistencies. Many of us are living lives constrained by societal expectations, cultural norms, and beliefs in what girls should do, how they should behave, speak, etc.
Purposeful believes in joy as a form of resistance. We are empowering girls to resist the status quo and actively participate in reshaping their futures through individual and collective joy. Imagine the joy of having a career that you choose. Girls with parents from various walks of life, ranging from mothers who are domestic workers to those in professional careers, had an opportunity to participate in the initiative. The girls interacted with Purposeful staff, from Chernor Bah our Co-founder and CEO to various interns.
This is the world we want to see — a world where girls are free to choose their careers and have ample opportunities to do so. However, let’s face reality, girls are different and have different abilities — not everyone of them will become Head Girl at school. We are reimagining a country where different educational opportunities are offered to girls based on their individual academic strengths and learning styles.
Purposeful is reframing traditional roles for girls in Sierra Leone, supporting them to forge new paths and embrace the world as they imagine it.
Click here for a quick glance of the #BringYourDaughterToWorkDaySL event.
Dr Carol Labor is a mental health specialist, advocate, speaker, and researcher. Her research areas are grounded at the intersectionality of race and gender disparities in mental health services, trauma, and sexual/gender-based violence. She is Purposeful’s Senior Adviser of Collective Care and is currently building general wellness programme for Purposeful and its feminist movement partners, facilitating individual and group wellness to build supportive work environment and a healthier workforce.