50 teenagers from the countryside arrive in Bucharest for an inspirational event – The Camp for Fearless Girls

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Bucharest, April 27th – 50 girls aged 10 to 16 from 8 villages in Romania and their librarians participated in the Camp for Fearless Girls, which took place in april in Bucharest. Progress Foundation worked with them using the learning circles methodology, setting up empowerment clubs for teenage girls in libraries. The goal is to round their educational journey with key information not covered in school: health education, the search for identity, anxiety management, assertive communication, bullying, discrimination, active citizenship, financial independence, jobs of the future, fake news, and fact-checking, global warming, and human trafficking. Because the transformation of the girls was visible and encouraging, they were rewarded with The Camp for Fearless Girls, a 3 days event where they had the opportunity to interact with women who would inspire them and help them continue their development. The camp was organized with the support of OTP Leasing, company who also patterners with Progress Foundation in piloting this methodology in small urban environment, by establishing 10 new empowerment clubs for teenage girls in towns throughout Romania.

The first day of the camp was designed for their self-discovery though the Vulnerability & Courage Workshop moderated by Oana Maria Zaharia – actress, musician, trainer and activist for women’s rights – and a feminist art workshop held by Nona Șerbănescu – visual artist, curator and cultural manager. The second day was an inspirational one, with a panel of top women professionals from different fields: Eli Roman, TV anchor and President of SAMAS Association, who spoke about The courage to have it all, Nicoleta Munteanu, Vice-President of the National Confederation for Women Entrepreneurs and Founder of Kids in Business who told the girls what it’s like to have The courage to be an entrepreneur, Steliana Moraru, COO OTP Leasing, and board member Global Women in Tech who showed them what it means to have The courage to run a business, and Alexandra Cantor, Executive Director of the Friends for Friends Foundation, who started a heated conversation about The courage to be in a relationship. The day ended with a round table with journalists recognized for their contribution to the gender equality agenda: Cristina Radu, Diana Meseșan, Adina Dragomir, Medeea Stan and Andreea Archip. They debated the hardships and opportunities that come with being a woman in Romania.

Researchers measured the differences between girls to whom the methodology developed by the foundation has been applied and those were the intervention has not started yet. Thus, 6 psychological constructs (facets related to attitudes or behaviours) were analysed: anxiety, assertiveness, courage, dependence, optimism, self-confidence and teamwork. The conclusion of the study is that the most important change brought about by the project in the lives of the teenage girls is in respects to their courage, hence the theme of the camp.

Laura Sgârcitu, Deputy CEO of Progress Foundation: “The meeting in Bucharest was designed in such a way as to give the girls the perspective of courage and determination in everything they do. From professional to personal life, from everyday decisions to projecting your future, meeting these strong women we had as guests showed them behind every shining armour there is a complicated path with hardships to overcome, sorrows to heal, hopes to feed, instruction and education.”

“Our company got involved in the project because of the lack of educational, cultural, and economic opportunities, and limited access to other means of personal development for young women in rural areas. These are also sources of social disparities that affect our development as a society on the long term. We set out to invest in projects that support teenagers because they can create healthy foundations for whatever they propose for the future. However, meeting the girls from the 8 villages was far beyond my expectations: I found them open, curious, ambitious, smart, and, indeed, fearless. We had a mature and interesting dialogue, I shared with them my experience in running a company, showing them by personal example that you can get where you want if you have the courage to create your own opportunities and overcome your fears. We will continue to invest in the projects of Progress Foundation, looking forward to expanding this methodology together in the small urban area, in 10 cities in Romania.” Steliana Moraru, COO OTP Leasing

About Fearless Girls

Fearless Girls is a project implemented by Progress Foundation in partnership with OTP Leasing that aims to help the development of teenage girls from disadvantaged areas through education, activism, empowerment and increasing their self-esteem.

About Progress Foundation

Progress Foundation is a non-governmental organization established in 1996 in Bistrita, which contributes to the development of the community, vulnerable individuals and groups and helps people become stronger through education, technology, research and innovation. The organization supports citizens to evolve, realize their potential and achieve well-being in sustainable and resilient communities. Through the partnerships it creates, Progress Foundation focuses on facilitating lifelong learning and the transfer of innovation, building IT and STEM skills, and developing new methodologies for participatory design and social inclusion. In order to achieve its goals and to reach even remote groups, the organization uses public libraries and community spaces in villages and cities as focal points of learning and hubs for social innovation. www.progressfoundation.ro.

About OTP Leasing

OTP Leasing Romania IFN SA was established in Romania in 2007 and it is part of the OTP banking group, one of the most important banking groups in Central and Sud-East Europe. With an experience of more than 15 years on the Romanian market, OTP Leasing Romania is a trusted partner for the local companies, affording them the possibility to develop long-term projects through financial leasing solutions for each business sector. Our team offers consultancy for your company in order to make the best acquisition of cars, vehicles and equipments.

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