Voices

What’s Up, Girl Up?

The spread of the coronavirus has turned life upside down, almost overnight, for millions of people around the world. Being a teenager is complicated even without a global pandemic in the mix, and we wanted to know what it feels like to be a teen at this particular moment in time — navigating a new reality of remote schoolwork, lots of family time, and a ton of uncertainty about what happens next.

  1. Story

We are so impressed by how the Girl Up global community is staying positive, keeping the movement going, and taking care of not only themselves, but their communities around the world. See what a few of our Girl Up Club members have been up to below!

Kavita, 18 – Camarillo, California, USA (Girl Up USC)

What’s it like in your city?

Very quiet! Empty grocery stores, but not really sure other than that because being immunocompromised means staying home pretty much 24/7

How’s it going? How are you feeling?

It’s stressful! Because I’m at risk with my health, these times are scary for me. But the best way I cope with it all is keeping myself busy.

What are you doing in isolation?

I’ve been in a health leave from school due to lymphoma, so I’ve had 4 months of practice for social distancing! Here are my favorites: journaling, dream/goal planning, thrift flipping (turning old clothes into cool pieces), painting, working out at home, reading Oprah’s book club books, baking, and picnics in the backyard!!

How have you been helping your family or community during this time? 

I’ve been really focused on figuring out how to digitize resources for fellow students and my Gen Z peers. I’ve attended conference calls with other organizers to compile resources ranging from school help to mental stress for others online. We also took time to strategize what ways we could support and uplift one another through these times. I think it’s crucial we fall back on our digital communities the best we can.

How have you been able to continue your work with Girl Up and stay connected to Girl Up Club members?

USC Girl Up Club leaders have continuously checked up on members to for mental check-ins and personally, being home, I have checked on my previous Club NPHS Girl Up during this time to help them organize local ways to help the community. They had to cancel our annual International Women’s Day forum “Hats & High Tea” this year. However, are now planning to create sanitation kits with necessities such as tampons, soap, etc.

Kelsea, 16 – Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA (Girl Up BCC)

What’s it like in your city? 

Our downtown is almost completely empty except for the few people getting takeout (we’re pretty largely a service-based town) which makes it feel a bit like we’re in A Quiet Place. That said, I went to the jogging path near my house and there were more people out running and walking than you’d see on a normal day. As I went down the path, everyone felt the need to give each other a little nod. With the way that our city is divided, the food pickup sites organized by the county were super far away from our area and a lot of low-income families couldn’t get there. So, it was extremely cool to see our community organize our own food pickup to help get everyone through this.

How’s it going? How are you feeling? 

To some extent it feels like a spring break just with the added fun factor of extreme anxiety. You’re just sort of stuck with the feeling that you should be enjoying the time home, but then you’re snuck up on by fear for grandparents, local businesses, low income families, etc. I’ve somewhat fallen into a routine

What are you doing in isolation?

I’m in AP Studio Art, so in addition to my regular schoolwork, I’ve been working on my portfolio for the exam. Every day, I’ve spent at least 5-7 hours painting which has helped to calm my nerves a bit. My concentration focuses on student activism, so although I can’t go to any marches at the moment, I’ve still been able to have an outlet for things I care about. While I paint I usually listen to podcasts or go on hours-long group FaceTimes with friends. Also, I watched an entire season of Game of Thrones.

How have you been helping your family or community during this time?

The student-run art museum that I work for has been working to organize a canned food drive to have available for delivery and pickup for local families. As far as my family goes, we’ve been making sure to FaceTime my grandma every night!

How have you been able to continue your work with Girl Up and stay connected to Girl Up Club members?

A few weeks before schools closed, our Girl Up Club was talking about guns and domestic violence against women, and specifically the Violence Against Women Act. I was able to continue my Girl Up work by calling my senator in support of the renewal of the bill prior to Congress going out of session. Additionally, I listened to a fantastic podcast called Throwback, which focused on the US Women’s National Soccer team and the 1991 World Cup. This particularly resonated with me not only because I play soccer, but also because women’s pay equality in sports is currently a very important point of discussion.

Shivali, 20 – Pune, Maharashtra, India (Girl Up Jhilmil)

What’s it like in your city?

Pune has one of the highest number of cases recorded in India (22). The city is practically empty right now with very few shops open. Since Pune also has a large population of old, retired people as well as the largest number of student population in India, the city is dealing with a deadly combination of susceptible folks and a huge number of young carriers of the virus.

How’s it going? How are you feeling?

I study in Delhi University, so I am naturally back at home. All classes and assignments are taking place through online portals like Google Classroom. I have a 90-year-old grandfather at home, so we are extremely careful about going out of the house or calling anyone home. I haven’t been out of the house for the last 4 days. It is a bit relaxing but also gets frustrating because there is only as much as I can do every day at home. I have a dog, so I spend most of my time with him, which helps because he keeps me engaged. My parents are civil servants so they cannot work from home. It’s particularly difficult to see them go to work every day, knowing the risks, and coming back home, but they maintain their distance and take all due precautions as soon as they reach home. I wouldn’t say I am tensed but it sure is interesting to see what is happening in the world right now. What concerns me is that people don’t realize how their actions can affect the country and the world in the times of a pandemic.

What are you doing in isolation?

This period of isolation has made me incredibly productive. I have taken to hardcore skin care, completing my assignments, and relaxing my mind with good music. I have been looking for journals to publish my research paper in and also been researching various colleges for my Master’s after my undergraduate career. This pandemic has made me realize the importance of self-care. I’m sad it had to take a pandemic to make me realize that. I guess it’s just one way in which I’m keeping myself optimistic.

How have you been helping your family or community during this time?

I usually spend time with my grandfather, who watches the news all day. I feel the smallest of things can help the community right now, so I make it a point to wash my hands every 2 hours and help in cleaning the house as much as I can. My mother got face masks for everyone, so we make sure everyone is cautious. I’m also actively sharing articles on ‘Myths about Coronavirus.’ It’s extremely important for people around me to have the correct information and awareness about what is going on in order to handle the situation effectively.

How have you been able to continue your work with Girl Up and stay connected to Girl Up Club members?

Girl Up Jhilmil has taken to a lot of online activities. We have constantly been conducting social media campaigns on our page for the March Storytelling Challenge. We have also been raising funds for Girl Up Against Violence on our fundraising portal. We have received Rs 18,000 so far! Our goal is to collect Rs 30,000 or more and we are working very hard in that direction. New ideas are also being formulated to activities on our WhatsApp groups. We have also been talking about how quarantine is working out for all of us. Our Club acts as a portal for all of us to vent when we need to.

Anel, 18 – Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico (Girl Up VHSA First)

How’s it going? How are you feeling?

I’m doing kind of fine, I miss my friends and going to school. This week, I have exams and evidences (bigger activities) and some of them are in teams and it’s kind of harder to do.

What are you doing in isolation?

I wish I had a little bit of more free time to do things for fun, but I have a lot of homework and classes.

How have you been helping your family or community during this time?

I think I’m not helping a lot but I feel that staying at home helps my father to stay safe from all of this.

How have you been able to continue your work with Girl Up and stay connected to Girl Up Club members?

I am able to stay in contact through Whatsapp and the Instagram page.

Aisha, 17 – Fortaleza, Ceará, Brasil (Girl Up De Mãos Dadas)

What’s it like in your city? 

We are all quarantined. My aunt is a teacher and got in touch with someone sick, so she may be sick and we live together, so she can infect me at any time. Schools are officially stopped. So have the offices. People are being fired. The president released the suspension of salary. Many people still work, even though it is against the law for fear of losing their jobs. My mom works and we live together too so it’s like chaos. Nobody respects the quarantine. Many because they don’t want to, many because they can’t.

How’s it going? How are you feeling?

I don’t know how I am. I was always homely. I felt pressured by the school. I wanted time at home. But that was before, you know? I am part of the risk group, so I now have orders to be home. If all was well, I would probably be home. But I would have the choice to be home. Now I do not have a choice. And despite taking care of myself so much, depriving me of going out, taking all necessary hygiene procedures, I can get infected at any time. It’s like walking on eggshells.

What are you doing in isolation?

I’m trying to organize everything for six months by project and posting things on De Mãos Dadas’s Instagram. I don’t want to stop activities, but it is difficult when everyone is far away just at the time that face-to-face activities would return. Other than that, I read books about feminism and I exercise every day.

How have you been helping your family or community during this time?

I have been sharing online sustainable methods and, as I am a nursing technician, making myself available to check blood pressure, apply insulin, measure blood glucose and help them with medication, since the nearest basic public health unit is being used for coronavirus cases.

How have you been able to continue your work with Girl Up and stay connected to Girl Up Club members?

I am active on social networks making posts of content that we would usually talk about in the activities and watching the Girl Up content daily. I’m new here, so I’m trying to get used to it.

Share

Give to Girl Up

Your support of our girl changemakers means Girl Up can continue to work toward a world where girls have equal value, opportunity, and the chance to reach their fullest potential. You can make a difference in the life of a girl by donating today.

How to Get Involved

All around the world, our network of a million supporters is mobilizing for gender equality. Will you stand with us?

  1. (close shot) a girl with big glasses on and a big smile
    Give

    Donate or partner with us to mobilize changemakers everywhere.

    Ways to Support
  2. a phone is holding an iPhone and looking down at her phone
    Get Social

    Follow us on Instagram.

    Follow Us
  3. a girl who is looking down and using her finger to scrolling the phone
    Subscribe

    Sign up to get the latest news and happenings in Girl Up’s movement.

    Subscribe
  4. a girl with big smile on her face wearing Gril Up t-shirt (close shot)
    Join our Movement

    Join tens of thousands of changemakers from 120 countries and all 50 U.S. states.

    Start a Club
  5. two girls are smiling and writing down notes and sharing a laptop
    Explore the Issues

    All issues are gender equality issues.

    Learn More
  6. Ayanna Pressley speaking on the #girlhero event
    Upcoming Events

    Get involved at an event near you.

    Learn More

Close Overlay