Girl’s Club

Twenty one years ago when I was eleven years old, my older sister was a part of a program called, ‘Project Excel’. She invited me to go with her to volunteer at a local homeless shelter. That moment changed my life. I couldn’t accept that children should be without a home. From that day forward I dedicated my life with a small prayer to God and asked him how I could make a difference. Here I am age 32 creating a program inspired by the very one that moved my heart.

We underestimate the ability and intellect of the youth. Our AVEH program is a work in progress much like our own selves. Our aim is to empower and inspire the girls to be a part of the change they wish to see in the world. We combine education and compassion to be the core mission. When discussing with Green the co-founder we decided our tagline to be ‘unlocking the impossible‘. Daily training runs and regular bouts of anxiety leave me struggling to keep mentally afloat. They say that you must help yourself before you help others.

If I were to wait until I was fully sound and grounded then I would be dead before I made a difference. It is also true that by helping others we also learn how to help ourselves. One thing I did not imagine in my childhood dream state was how tough it is to stay steady at the helm of the ship. To be a leader and to inspire a love in others. How do we teach people to care? No one said that we have a responsibility to the world. What if we each took a chunk of the pie to love others whole heartedly and find a way to mix our business (livelihoods) with giving. Could we manage to end poverty? Could change start with a smile in the mirror?

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Lucky me to be surrounded by such inspiring women! On the left is Green the co-founder of AVEH. She grew up in an orphanage in a poor region of Bali, but pushed through obstacles to achieve her Masters degree and is preparing for a PHD. Hana in the red plaid v-neck is a single mother of 4 children who is supporting as production manager and instructor for our fashion program. Sue is running a women’s center for the number one Charity in Bali – Bali Life. We are a little community of women who push each other to stay positive and move these projects forward with hope, happiness and joy.

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Our top students have been promoted to President and Treasurer for a test business called Warung Alami which translates to Nature Cafe. The team of girls will grow their own produce and sell them at a space owned by one of the mothers to learn the art of making something from nothing. Also we want them to care for nature and learn patience in caring for the living.

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The girls are so very shy and afraid to give an opinion. We are regularly breaking their fear through repetition. They must present their ideas in front of their peers. We teach them to question and to come up with solutions. The girls had to present business ideas to the group to vote. Pitching and selling the concept.

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We are finding as the exercises become challenging the group has decreased in size, but the quality of the impact and growth is tremendous. Even if just one girl comes out of the program inspired, the world is a better place. I was just one girl that was inspired in my youth.

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