GirlsRock! is an after-school technology and health education camp for displaced girls in Soacha, Colombia. It is a program within YTF’s Soacha Digital Village. Soacha is located in the rural outskirts south of Bogota, and is home to as many as 6.8 million displaced people.
The last five decades of continuous internal conflict and violence have resulted in over six million people to be displaced or forced from their homes in Colombia, disproportionately impacting women and children. Many children are living in unsafe, violent communities and are at real risk of being forced into armed warfare, crime, sexual abuse and exploitation, and violence.
GirlsRock! integrates real and relevant issues in health, personal safety, and reproductive rights with the use of technology, teaching technology skills as well as empowering girls to better understand issues that can negatively affect them. Both result in increased confidence and personal empowerment.
Colombia has the worst teenage pregnancy rates in Latin America with higher rates for displaced girls. In Soacha, 30% of displaced girls ages 13-19 have been pregnant at least once. The minimum age for marriage is 12 years for girls and 14 years for boys. Child marriages and early pregnancies have a serious detrimental effect on the health, education, and development of the girl child. These are violations of the UN Committee of the Rights of the Child and of Colombia’s girls and women.
GirlsRock! is for girls aged 12-20 years. Girls learn how to use technology to research, document, and disseminate information on issues related to sexual abuse, exploitation, reproductive rights, sexually-transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, teen sex trafficking, and adolescent pregnancy. It improves academic performance, competencies (communication, teamwork, time management, problem solving, and confidence) and positive learning attitudes through the use of e-learning and digital research tools. It promotes emotional well-being and intellectual growth of girls to take ownership and responsibility of their lives in a learning environment that fosters no bias in attitudes towards girls.
Through YTF’s innovative curriculum, they learn how to use technology to create positive change.