In a world where the ascent is concentrated on physical attributes and girls are pressured from all sectors of society, the young ladies housed at the Mahaica Children’s Home took a step back in time yesterday and treated over a 100 strong to a classy afternoon of tea and fashion.
Attired in their fineries, the parents, supporters, youth advocates, social workers and Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) officials sat back for an afternoon of talent at its best. The classy event culminated a three-month ‘Girls Rule’ programme in which 35 of the teenaged residents participated.
Among the residents of the home are young females who were neglected, trafficked and who faced other forms of abuse.
The activity, organised by the girls with support from Simpli Royal, the organiser of Miss and Mister Guyana Talented Teen, was geared towards bringing a fresh dimension to their world by allowing each of them a chance to recognize their aspirations, show their talents and their need to see themselves as valuable individuals in society.
The event started off with a shy introduction but ended with the girls modeling in some tantalizing pieces from some of the most renowned fashion designers in Guyana.
The voice of a 14-year-old girl awed the crowd. Her humble repetition of “Pray On,” a song by Babbie Manson, left many in the crowd commenting that they were looking at the next Miss Talented Teen.
Fashion was at its best. The pieces of budding fashion designers Mark June and Nels Nurse sent thrills of excitement through the crowd. The grand finale came when the young ladies took award winning fashion designer Randy Madray pieces to the runway.
Amid the sipping of tea, polite conversation, fantastic entertainment and the lady-like munching of lovely finger foods, the young ladies listened to the featured speaker, Ms. Anne Greene, Director of CCPA.
Greene said that the show, one which the ‘Girls Rule’ kicked off, focused on building self esteem and encouraging the girls to be comfortable with who they are.
She noted that the Fashion Show and Tea Party was chosen because of the values knitted therein. Greene said that they are trying to have young girls and men regain value and feel good about who they are, so focus has been given to programmes that are uplifting to young people.
The CCPA Head said that she was impressed with the girls. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Simpli Royal, Gileon James provided an overview of the project.
She said that while the girls face pressure in all forms from the media, they have been encouraging them to be confident in who they are. “Don’t allow anybody to disapprove you. God made you beautiful,” she encouraged.
James explained that during the time spent with the girls, focus was given to personal presentation; they were taught that personal presentation was not only for how they look but also for where they dwell.
“We also did self-grooming, dining etiquette, skin care and makeup, wardrobe planning and everything that was essential for these young ladies,” she told the crowd.
“They are very talented and promising young ladies. One of the main reasons this show is on is for them to express their self-confidence and to let John Public know whatever perception you may have about us in a home, we want to tell you different.”
Part of the show, she said, is giving back to the older folks in the community. “Here at Mahaica Children Home is much more than receiving. They are being taught to give back.”
Talented Teen franchise holder and Simpli Royal Director Pamela Dillon, was the driving force behind the three month project with the girls. Dillon told this publication that the three-month project included girls between the ages of 13 and 18.
She said that ‘Girls Rule’ was an introduction initiative and her group intends to do more with the girls.
“The idea was to put emphasis on the concept of giving back. We didn’t want to spend the past three months talking about what they went through,” said Dillon.
According to the Director, 10 senior citizens will benefit from the funds the girls raised yesterday. “The idea is to disregard what the media says you are, know you’re beautiful and embrace who you are,” she said.
Each girl was presented with certificates for their participation.
Perhaps it was the air of confidence or the look of determination on the face of each girl who took the stage, but the crowd left the Mahaica facility anticipating more. The girls at the Mahaica Children’s Home proved that they have a second chance and they’re making the best of it.
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