October 11th was International Day of the Girl, and Nigerian staff wanted to mark it especially for the older girls Back2Back serves. “The young ladies 14 and older do a lot of work to care for themselves and also set examples for those younger than them who are watching,” shared Meredith Messer, Back2Back staff. Staff take every opportunity to encourage the older girls and remind them how special they are.
“My Voice, Our Equal Future” was the theme, and the room was decorated with hot pink balloons, tables for the girls to sit at, and beloved staff prepared talks and prayers to honor each young lady in attendance.
The party was held at the Back2Back offices, but the space was transformed and the girls were asked to dress nicely for the occasion. Together, with staff they trust and love, they shared a meal, cake, dancing, and heard from speakers.
Kristy Ratcliff, the staff medical coordinator, gave a health and hygiene talk, reminding the young ladies how important it is for them to take care of themselves and seek health in all ways, so they can offer care to others. Another staff member, Amanda Obemeasor, offered words of encouragement to the girls. “Every single one of you has meaning, value, and purpose,” she told them. “God created each of you with a unique purpose; you were designed to tell the world something. Your voice can be used to show love, to expose injustice, and to share truth, but it can also tear people down. You have a choice of how you will use it.”
Each girl was given a small bundle of flowers when they arrived and were presented with an individual gift at the end of the even. Male staff members came and prayed over the young ladies. One of the teens went to a staff member afterwards, with tears in her eyes, and hugged her. “Thank you for doing this for us,” she said. “I feel so special.”
This is the power of speaking life and love over young women, and men – they receive the truths and offer them back out to others with grace and humility.