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Love yourself: Girls build self-esteem through art

Violence, sexist attitudes, and lack of power and resources are common problems for girls and women in Peru. However, as a result of the 'Love Yourself' project, girls are building their self-esteem and resilience through art, music and drama.

Girls take part in a painting activity at a 'Love Yourself' art therapy workshop
The 'Love Yourself' project is helping girls follow their ambitions.

The transition from child to adult can be a time of both disorientation and discovery. It can bring up issues of independence and self-identity and many children face tough choices regarding schoolwork, sexuality and their future.

Girls can face additional challenges such as being more likely to be unhappy with their appearance and lives leading to emotional and mental health problems.

Now I know more about myself. What I am and what I have is valuable

To overcome these issues, Plan International's 'Love Yourself' project, financed by partner organisation Cyzone, uses art therapy to encourage girls to express their emotions.

During the workshops, girls aged 15 to 18 use painting, music and drama to evaluate their lives, recognise their potential and identify ways to achieve their personal goals.

Girls work on a creative project during an art therapy session
The workshops allow girls to express themselves in an accepting environment.

These workshops offer new creative outlets for the girls and allow them to experiment and express themselves in an accepting environment. The benefits have gone beyond the masks and paintings they have created, teaching the girls an invaluable lesson in how to love themselves.

The project has helped girls like Mary Cielo, 15. "I got to be myself when doing theatre," she says. "Now I know more about myself. What I am and what I have is valuable."

Find out what girls have to say about the workshops and their new-found confidence: 

  • Sharon at the Love Yourself workshop in Peru
    Sharon, 16: "The project is great, I got the chance to show my personality and I made new friends. I have more confidence in myself and I learnt that every person in the world is unique, we just have to discover our talent."
  • Mary Cielo at the Love Yourself workshop in Peru
    Sharon, 16: “The project is spectacular. I really liked the music and sound session because I got to speak my mind and be funny. I got to be myself when doing theatre. Now I know more about myself."
  • Ana Maria at the Love Yourself workshop in Peru
    Ana Maria, 15: "I enjoyed spending time with my classmates and sharing our life experiences. I have learnt a lot about myself, what I like and what I don’t, how my personality is and what my strengths and weaknesses are."
  • Leonela at the Love Yourself workshop in Peru
    Leonela, 14: "I got to do music and explore sound, and I really liked it because it gave me more confidence when speaking in public. I was very shy before!"
  • Talita at the Love Yourself workshop in Peru
    Talita, 16: "It has been therapy for all of us, because we have learnt to beat our fears of speaking in public, for example, which is important in order to make our voices heard in school and our communities."

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