GirlSportWorks is back in action for the 2013 academic year! The rainy season is coming to an end and the streets of Cusco are bustling as more tourists make their way to Machu Picchu and children return from vacation to start their new school schedules.
This means GSW programs are restarting and we are excited to welcome a new Project Manager, Jessie Curran, to the team. As an avid skier and basketball player, Jessie brings years of sports and coaching experience to GSW, and most recently, she joins us after spending six months in Buenos Aires as an English Teacher.
Initiating GSW sports and English classes is an exciting process and consists of meeting with school directors and parents, and visiting classrooms to hand out info sheets and permission slips for enrolling in the program. After a brief introduction and description of our program, it is encouraging to witness girls gasping with excitement and enthusiasm as they hear about this opportunity to learn new skills, play new sports, and make new friends.
Monday, March 11th celebrated International Day of the Woman, making this week the perfect time to start up our first round of classes. It was exciting to reconnect with our returning students at Virgen del Rosario, Pacca, Casa Mantay, Santoni, and Los Nogales who are older and typically more outspoken. It was especially rejuvenating to connect with the new students just entering the grade when they are old enough to enter into the program.
At our primary schools, our girls end each sports class by sharing their highs and lows of the day using the Kimochi doll that alternates between a happy and sad face. “Today, I am happy because Chicas Dinamicas has returned and I can finally be a part of it,” was a sentiment echoed by many of these new, younger girls. One girl even mentioned how hopeful she was that Chicas Dinamicas would help her adopt a healthier lifestyle.
For some of our new students at Casa Mantay and the newest incoming class at Pacca, Quechua is their first language and communicating in Spanish is a challenge. For these girls, it was their first time passing a volleyball and participating in an organized sport. Going through this first time experience with these girls has inspired and refocused us on GSW’s important mission. So many invaluable lessons are learned from sports—communication, leadership, teamwork—and the experience of this first week reminds us of the important work to be done.