Group leader: Yasmine Messaikeh (Yale-NUS), Éloïse L’Her
The Girls Dance Movement is a social impact initiative that uses dance to build a safe space for young women in underprivileged communities. The program comprises of regular dance sessions in the genres of urban and contemporary, accompanied by a participant-lead collaborative conceptualisation and execution of a final dance project. The pilot program started with a group of 12 girls, and completed with 22 girls at a refugee camp in Lebanon.
Our intention is to collaborate with young women in building a space in which they can safely engage in physical exercise and creative expression within their community. Throughout the program, we utilised dance/movement focused exercises to encourage the development of body awareness and the sharing of stories, paving the way for both a personal and shared physical and emotional journey for everyone in the program, including ourselves.
We would not have been able to develop an idea into a full-fledged pilot program without constant guidance and support of our CIPE advisor throughout the planning stages. The SIF grant enabled us to fund the resources that were necessary to achieve the desired outcomes of the program. Besides renting a space in Shatila to hold practice sessions, we were also able to provide each participant with a sports kit and snacks to facilitate their journey of learning and dancing.
Dive in and don’t look back! It’s very easy to doubt yourself in the midst of the independence and uncertainty that comes with creating a social impact program absolutely from scratch. Believe wholeheartedly in your cause, don’t be afraid to seek all the advice and support you need, and give it all you’ve got. Despite the obstacles, you really do have the capacity to make an impact (no matter the scale) on others and on the world.
“I like dance because it is like a sport and it’s beautiful and it is very beneficial” (top left, orange post-it) – Marihan
“At first I thought dance was hard, but when we practiced it became easy and enjoyable” (bottom left, yellow post-it) – Rahaf
“Dance was, in my opinion, something very amazing and I have nothing bad to point out, quite the opposite, we had a lot of fun and I really really hope that we do the program again. Thank you Yasmine and Éloïse!” – Unnamed