Voices

What’s Up, Girl Up? – Part II

We know you loved our recent stories from girls around the world during these unprecedented times, so we have some more from the Girl Up Community!

  1. Story
  2. Gender Equality

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!

Aria, 19 – Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States (Girl Up Lancaster Catholic)

What’s it like in your city? 

Schools are closed, all non-essential businesses are closed, but the weather has been nice these days so at least we can spend time outdoors!

How’s it going? How are you feeling?

It’s been a weird week for me. Although online classes give me something to do (thank god!), it’s still not the same amount of work I would get when I was in school. It’s also so easy to slack off and feel guilty for being unproductive. I’m usually very involved in my community and it’s just hard for me to not have a full to-do list. It’s hard to feel my self-worth in this special time.

Also, the school musical I’m involved in and the play I directed are postponed indefinitely. This is not just my senior musical but the first time I directed a show. The cast and I have put in hundreds of hours for these two shows and I’m beyond disappointed that we possibly won’t be able to perform in front of an audience. However, I am aware of how important it is to stay in and am thankful for being healthy and safe in this chaotic time.

I know that many people out there are facing bigger problems than mine and risking their lives for the lives of others. The only thing I can do is to stay positive and help out my community as best as I can! In fact, this unusual experience is teaching me precious lessons. I had been running around too much and forgot how to spend time with myself. I am now learning how to manage my time effectively and taking care of my body and mind.

What are you doing in isolation?

I’m reading books and watching movies that I’ve had on my list since forever but never got time to read/watch. I’m journaling a lot. It’s something I’ve been doing for years now and I always have the urge to write down my thoughts whenever I spend time with myself. And I’m able to call/Facetime my grandma in China almost every day! This is perhaps the best thing for me about the quarantine. I have a very strong relationship with my grandma. My mom is a working single mother so my grandma helped to raise me when I was little. But ever since I moved to the United States, the time difference and my busy schedule have kept me from calling and connecting with her often. Last year, she was diagnosed with brain atrophy, which means that she is slowly losing her memories and will eventually forget who I am. I feel less guilty now that I get to spend more time with her virtually.

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

I’m the head producer of my school’s broadcasting team. Usually every school day, we put on a “Morning Show” to keep our school community informed and entertained. During this time, our team has been working from home to produce a coronavirus special news show every week to keep our community informed of the situation. Not only do we cover hard news and status updates, but we also include heart-warming human-interest stories that remind our viewers of the kindness and positivity in this difficult time. Surprisingly, our videos have got even higher views than our usual in-school new shows! You can watch it here!

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

In the Teen Advisor group chat, we are able to offer each other encouragement and comfort during this stressful time, especially when some of us are hearing back from colleges. I’m also having meetings with my club officers to plan activities for next year. We are still posting #influentialwomenwednesday on our Club Instagram page every Wednesday. Moreover, I finally got time to work on Asians Lead, a project I co-founded with my fellow Teen Advisor Riya. We’ve been FaceTiming a lot and reaching out to resources that could help advocate for us. We are also working on expanding our leadership team at the moment.

Fátima, 17 – Villahermosa, Mexico (Girl Up VHSA First)

What’s it like in your city?

Everything is so calm and most restaurants or malls are lonely. Only people who need to work or aren’t conscious go out.

How’s it going? How are you feeling?

I feel kind of sad because I am missing so many memories with my friends since it’s my senior year, but I know that it’s the last important thing right now. Luckily, my family is doing good but I am thinking about those who can’t afford security.

What are you doing in isolation?

Online classes, reading, watching videos and spending time with my family.

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

Helping to clean the house, making food

Bruna, 19 – Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil (Girl Up De Elas, Para Elas)

What’s it like in your city? 

Although there isn’t a punishment for those who leave home, people from all cities in Brazil are required to stay in the houses and just go to markets when it’s necessary. In my condominium, the entrance of service providers is not allowed and the residents cannot stay in the external areas of the condominium, just in the houses.

How’s it going? How are you feeling? 

I’m trying not to be negative about the situation as I hope that the situation will normalize within some months, and we could have our normal life again. I’m also trying to be productive and use this time out of college to grow my knowledge and social impact.

What are you doing in isolation?

– Watching and hosting lives on Girl Up Brasil Instagram account
– Planning the posts to stories to Girl Up Brasil Instagram account
– Watching movies and documentaries
– Reading books required by my Brazilian university
– Applying to scholarships
– Staying connected with the news about COVID-19
– Reading Girl Up toolkits on storytelling and advocacy
– Watching the reality show Big Brother Brazil

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

– Dividing house activities
– Chatting and calling my grandmother frequently to make her aware of the situation and distract her from wanting to leave home

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

– Doing online Club meetings
– Providing online workshops to LatAm clubs
– Growing Girl Up Club account presence on social media

Emily, 16 – San Antonio, Texas, United States (Girl Up Alamo Heights)

What’s it like in your city? 

Currently, San Antonio is generally on lockdown, with some grocery and convenient stores still open. However, it has been very interesting to witness the unification of our community as restaurants have begun to do free deliveries and may people have been able to relate over the activities they are doing with their family and ways that we can support each other.

How’s it going? How are you feeling?

Quite honestly, I am feeling a bit apprehensive about the future of our country but as an individual, I have been able to enjoy the company of my family and am trying to adjust to this new way of life.

What are you doing in isolation?

I have spent a lot of time with family and have also spent a lot of time on my own. I have been able to catch up on my favorite shows, talk to friends, make some artwork, and get lots and lots of sleep. My family and I also took a road trip to Colorado and got to drive through New Mexico, where we enjoyed nature and being off the grid.

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

I have spent lot of time with my two younger siblings, have made many home-cooked meals with my family, and have been able to help out the elderly by delivering toilet paper and eggs to people in my community who cannot get it for themselves.

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

I have stayed active on our Club Instagram account and have been reaching out to our GroupMe to check in with members and update them about our status as a club. Additionally, I have been checking in with my online account in the Girl Up Community.

Valeria, 20 – Merida, Yucatán, Mexico (Girl Up Sureste MX)

How’s it going? How are you feeling?

I’m scared for my family. I’m afraid to catch the virus and spread it.

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

By currently participating online and sharing good vibes to everybody to hang in their homes, it’ll soon be over. I’ve been really careful with what I do and what I touch when I’m at work, wash my hands every time I can and get in the shower as soon as I arrive home

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

We have a group chat (via WhatsApp, besides the Latin America Girl Up Clubs group) were we share positive thoughts, great books or articles, we keep in touch with each other, and try using social media, too.

Luana, 17- São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (Girl Up Nós Marias)

What’s it like in your city?

The government set a quarantine state and all the people who are able to stay in home, must stay and do not get outside their homes. São Paulo is Brazil’s state with the biggest number of cases of COVID-19 and also the biggest number of deaths, so everyone is very worried.

How’s it going? How are you feeling?

Everything is complicated, because São Paulo has a big inequality problem, so there are many people who cannot stay at home and they must work to pay their bills or at the end of the month, they will be starving. It’s for these people that citizens are trying to fight for. There are some bills in progress inside our Congress to give people a kind of emergency income and we are signing petitions to help. But, overall, everything is very lonely. We are trying to keep close with people or trying to help them by internet, but it keeps being solitary. We cannot really give them human support and some citizens are freaking out because they cannot go outside their homes without feeling scared. I am feeling lonely and I am also pretty scared about or situation, but I try not to show it and come with ordinary solutions to keep my friend busy.

What are you doing in isolation?

I am trying to do everything with my friends by video call, because many of them are alone in their homes. We do video calls to cook together, do skincare or haircare, watch a movie, talk about how our routines are tedious, etc. And also, when I am not with them by internet, I help my mother to clean the house and we also watch TV together. In my home, there are three houses and recently, we decided to have lunch and dinner together, so we do not feel too lonely. It’s being an exercise to remember how it was to really live with your family and enjoy your friends.

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

I’m part of the movement to do shopping for the elderly people inside my neighborhood and we are just buying things from neighborhood groceries to help them not go bankrupt.

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

We are still doing our weekly meetings, now by internet, and we already scheduled an online Book Club to discuss “Who is Afraid of Black Feminism,” a book written by a Brazilian woman, with anyone who wants to join us. We already received 10 replies from girls who are not from our Club and do have interest in this activity.

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