In response to this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #PressForProgress, volunteers Christina and Celina took the initiative to talk to young girls at local schools about their goals and career aspirations while trekking through rural Iringa.
“The young girls said they wanted to be teachers and doctors”- Celina
Upon discovering the reasons why many young girls in rural Tanzania might not achieve these ambitions, Christina and Celina decided to take steps to start understanding the women they want to help. Every time they stopped at a new campsite whilst they were trekking they spoke with young girls about their ambitions, encouraging them to pursue their long-term goals and overcome any challenges.
“I think confidence is holding women back in rural Tanzania. I notice the lack of support from parents, especially in the rural areas. But I can see the influence of the volunteers is very important. I talk to women who do not believe they can do it. They need to connect with the women volunteers like us who are active and confident trekking.” – Christina
“Trek has helped me to see myself as a leader” – Celina
“Whilst I trekked I wondered how I could improve the confidence of young girls. For me, even when I was walking I believed I was doing it for someone, for other women, and it stopped me feeling the aches and pains. I knew that I could do it. I will share my story with other women to inspire them.” – Christina
Trekking through rural Tanzania helped Christina and Celina to understand the problems young women face.
Trekking group rest between campsites whilst on trek. Image by Rebbie.They observed the difference in confidence between women in rural areas and women in the towns. “None of the girls I met in in the rural parts of Iringa whilst trekking had much confidence. The girls in the village have a more traditional role, cooking ugali in the evenings for example for the family. When the women and girls in the towns see us walking through the town as part of this big international group of young volunteers, we influence them, we inspire them.” – Christina.
“In life, we face different challenges.” – Christina
When their Raleigh Tanzania Expedition is over, Christina and Celina want to share their stories about how they overcame difficult conditions whilst on trek. “I will say to other women that they can do it. They can do physical activities, even when they are menstruating. They can do something that is important to them and this will mean they are taking great opportunities.” – Christina
Sometimes starting the conversation is the trickiest part, but with the support of their leaders, young Tanzanians on our Expedition programme are learning about the problems women face in rural Tanzania. “After the Expedition programme we will go back with more confidence. I can be the example to women in my village. They can learn to be active like me; after Expedition we can be good leaders.” – Celina.
Christina by photographer Hilary Sloane.Stay up to date with our blog and social media channels (Instagram and Facebook) to follow the progress of our Raleigh Tanzania Expedition volunteers.
Images by communications officer Rebbie and photographer Hilary Sloane. Words by Rebbie Webb.