Six years ago, a mother of three, two daughters included, came up with the idea of providing a special space for girls between the ages of 10 and 16 where they would feel free to be themselves, make new friends, meet young mentors, professional women in various fields and learn important life skills. Passion-driven, former Corporate Communications manager Sunita Gopaul started the ‘Whole Girl Workshop’ with activities that focus on the emotional, social and physical development of girls.
Gopaul explained to WE Mag, “Our girls are stressed and dealing with a lot of emotional and social issues that a lot of us, parents and guardians, did not have to deal with when growing up. Television and social media are forcing them to grow up faster. They are developing at a faster rate given the material and information they are exposed to. Our girls are also lacking young and positive mentors locally and internationally…this breaks my heart. I want more than anything, to enable our young girls to embrace their femininity, and to love and appreciate themselves more.”
She added, “Our children are living in a more stressful time since they are exposed to the power of social media which can influence their self-esteem, confidence and a sense of value. Some are even cyber bullied which is an area that will be addressed along with an emphasis on self love and analysing what is real and fake. Body shaming each other for the way they look is unacceptable and Whole Girl has been trying over the past couple of years to bring in speakers who can relate to being body shamed and how they deal with this hurtful issue. Teenage years can be extremely difficult and brutal for some young girls — bullied and those who are bullies — so equipping them to respond to bullies and letting them know what is unacceptable behaviour is an area we see as important to address.” So far, 250 girls have experienced the Whole Girl Workshop and it is set to welcome another batch of girls from July 22 to 26, 2019, at the Cascadia Hotel.
Gopaul believes that girls must know they have the ability to successfully take on any role they choose and act with dignity and integrity. “Being a leader,” she said “should not be about bossing others around or abusing power, but inspiring and allowing others to grow without feeling intimidated. I also believe that young people must have all the options to have a successful and happy life. Some children are academically gifted while others are creative geniuses.” This year, the Whole Girl Workshop will bring in some young people who are chasing their passion and are enjoying success as entrepreneurs.
The new Miss World TT 2019, Tya Jané Ramey, will host ‘Girl Talk’ and share stories about herself. Tya Jané Ramey recently completed her degree in social work, is a saxophonist and a former national volleyball player. Roxy and Paris James, two popular social media influencers, will host ‘The Balancing Act’. The two are recipients of scholarships and are entrepreneurs. The Balancing Act will cover time management, organisation and getting prepared for heading back to school.
Participants will also learn dining etiquette, event planning, how to do facials and personal grooming, hip hop and latin dance and will learn about yoga.
“Our girls are precious individuals and they just need our support, not judgment and criticism. Far too often we try, as adults and parents, to live our lives through our children without respecting their thoughts or opinions. This takes away from their confidence, creativity and independent thinking. The Whole Girl Workshop was designed to encourage girls to express themselves in an open manner knowing that it’s a safe space to be sincere and authentic. Registration for the workshop is ongoing. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 487-1964.