CLERA Tegu is a 17 year-old girl from Makira Ulawa Province who says the Girls Rise Up! project “has changed my life.”
Clera is one of over 200 young girls involved in the Girls Rise Up! project.
Girls Rise Up! is led by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in partnership with CARE International and supported by Australia through the Pacific Girl program, managed by Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women).
It aims to develop the confidence, skills and knowledge of at-risk girls while helping them establish supportive peer networks and the opportunity to safely advocate for issues that affect them.
Clera, who lives with her elder brother in Honiara, is a person who is deaf and now has a voice through sign language to advocate for other girls with disabilities, as a result of Girls Rise Up!.
Her focus is on her abilities, especially since she attended a workshop for people with disabilities in 2018 where she met Stella Wai’oha,
Girls Rise Up! mentor and Project Officer for People With Disabilities Solomon Islands (PWDSI). PWDSI is a Girls Rise Up! Partnership Stakeholder.
“There are many programs with Girls Rise Up! but I chose life skills. I attended Girls Rise Up! program in 2019 to 2020,” said Clera, relaying her story through an interpreter on how she was introduced to the program that has made such a significant and positive impact on her life.
“I heard [about] the program from my mentor, Stella. Stella asked me to join Girls Rise Up! training and life skills workshops.”
Clera was also supported by Diana Ma’ahoro, her training interpreter, who is a Project Assistant Officer with YWCA.
She learned a lot through the life skills program such as how to make paper beads, dye lavalava plus make jewellery including the earrings, necklace and bangles she wears each day.
“Marketing my products, I earned money that helped me to buy food, church offering and clothes,” Clera said.
In sign language, Clera said she is very patient and humble. “My family communicates with me using verbal and I can read their lips,” she said through her interpreter.
“I don’t learn any skills until I joined the Girls Rise Up! program and, as a deaf person, life skills has helped me. Attending trainings, I know that my actions speak louder.”
“I know that standing here as a deaf person to show you that having many skills has changed my life and I can contribute to my family’s income.
“My deaf motto: my hands are my mouth, my eyes are my ears.”
Clera has been empowered with self-confidence and life skills by attending Girls Rise Up! and has also been recommended by her mentors to attend the Red Cross Special Disability Center in Honiara.