Girls First International - Pointing Jamaican Girls to Hope

ISHEBA CORNWALL

Saturday, July 20, 2019

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The Future is indeed FEMALE. Imagine an initiative that provides the opportunity for girls in Jamaica to be all that they can be; to develop themselves through Advocacy, Outreach, a Resource Hub and Social Entrepreneurship. It sounds incredible, doesn't it? teenAGE thinks so and we're all excited about Girls First International!

Founded by past Deputy Head Girl of Immaculate Conception High School, Stephanie Hazle, Girls First International is an initiative that was started in 2017 and is aimed at providing access to a network of services to protect and restore girls who are at risk of being victimized or have been victimized in the past.

God's Plan

God's plan, that's what it was. It was through a period of unemployment that Shephanie became intensely passionate about pursuing purpose. “I believe I was divinely inspired to start this initiative. God gave me a deep level of compassion for girls who have been abused and I have not been the same ever since.”

Hazle believes that there is a lot of work to be done to restore girls and women who have been victimized in any way in Jamaica. “As this is a Christian initiative, my aim is to point these females to hope and inner healing through relationship with Christ,” she told teenAGE.

The Communication Specialist disclosed that her family and close friends are very much supportive of her as well as individuals and groups who share a passion for similar issues. When asked the question what are some of the challenges she faces with this initative, she replied saying, “I think service-oriented initiatives can be overwhelming, but in addition, the subject matter Girls First seeks to address is one that is perceived as 'heavy' and I think that affects how involved people choose to become.”

Stephanie tells us that an initiative like this one requires individuals who love deeply and are selfless and willing to sacrifice their time and resources. She went on to disclose that, “another challenge is our culture of normalising and/or ignoring illicit behaviours and this affects all of us, especially victims, to the point where they are at times not interested in the help being offered.”

This Modern Day Hero however does not let these challenges deter her from fulfilling God's purpose for her and making an impact on Jamaica's girls.

Her aim is to not only expand her core team and volunteers in terms of numbers but also to produce digital content that will be used to build awareness about need as well as visibility for sponsors.

The countless lessons in the Bible about defending the weak, standing up for the poor and the oppressed, and seeking justice on behalf of the voiceless (expressed succintly in Isaiah 1:17) describe what Stephanie believes is God's character and this is the guiding principle she uses throughout her life and her initiative.

teenAGE is not only proud of Stephanie, but we can't wait to see what she accomplishes through her initiative! You go girl!

If you would like to volunteer with Girls First International, you can send an email tostephanie.hazle@gmail.com. To know more about this incredible initiative, follow their social media pages Instagram @girlsfirstja _ and Facebook @GirlsFirst

--Isheba Cornwall


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