Why Powerful Beyond Measure?
Many exceptional girls in under-resourced U.S. communities lack opportunities to access their full potential. These girls are too often defined by their communities rather than by who they could become as individuals. Powerful Beyond Measure (PBM) works with these girls, chosen for their leadership potential and desire to better their communities. PBM’s immersive, cross-cultural program enables girls from the SF Bay Area, who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to travel, to journey to Kenya to see a bigger world beyond their communities, and to gain the self-knowledge, confidence, and skills they need to affect social change with concrete action.
How does PBM Work?
PBM is a year-long program which includes a pre-trip curriculum to learn about Kenyan history and culture, the life experiences of girls living half a world away, and enough Swahili to introduce themselves and communicate with their Kenyan sisters. During their 2 week immersion in Africa, the PBM girls live side-by-side with their African peers while visiting Daraja Academy, a full scholarship boarding school educating girls of material poverty. The girls share classes, meals, sports, and spiritual time together. Our PBM girls are immersed in a “culture of encounter,” exploring issues including identity, self-esteem, and leadership through a two-week workshop based on Daraja Academy’s unique WISH™ curriculum—Women of Integrity, Strength, and Hope. During the WISH™ workshop, which is facilitated by Daraja student leaders, our PBM girls share their personal stories, reflect on new personal narratives, and gain practical skills that will enable them to design and implement their Community Action Project (CAP), when they return home.
Often in the U.S., notions of identity, value and self-worth are closely linked with race. Many of PBM’s participants have never been to a country where they are not the racial minority. As soon as our girls step foot on the Daraja campus, they are free to conceptualize an identity which is no longer dictated by the color of their skin.
Living at Daraja our girls come face-to-face with their African sisters whose life challenges are unimaginable to our PBM girls. Over the course of their stay, as bonds deepen, our girls begin to see themselves in these Daraja girls...inspired by their strength, determination and belief that acting small doesn’t help the world. They return home with a new perspective and increased confidence in what they can accomplish in their own lives, and become changemakers in their communities.
The Sustained Impact of PBM
PBM believes that sustained community change must come from within. We invest in our girls to be that change. Upon return from Kenya, our girls are supported by PBM and local partners to put into action their ideas for community change, through a Community Action Project (CAP) of their own design. Whether their plans are starting a club in high school, joining student government, or presenting workshops for younger students at rec centers, teachers, or church members, the journey of our PBM girls continues long after they return as they use their leadership skills and passionate voices to become leaders in their communities.