Monrovia- 17-year-old Kimberlyn Boe's lungs flapped with joy as she screamed. Instantaneously, her younger sister came running to share her sister's joy, though clueless.
Boe had just won a coveted spot to attend the Black Girls Rock Queens Leadership Camp in New York; USA under the auspices and partnership between Liberian Based NGO AAW Peace & USA based Black Girls Rock after a competitive application process.
AAW Peace, The African & American Women for Peace, Youth Empowerment and Cultural Exchange Network is a global network of well-meaning women only Board member Organization, committed to accelerating the pace of socio-economic development in Liberia, through the implementation of youth-focused programs in entrepreneurship, education, media, arts and culture. It is AAW-Peace's goal to expand the minds of young people, by providing them the platform to experiment with innovative ideas, dream outside the box and grows above the confines of their present realities. AAW-Peace is driven by the fact that young people, when empowered to think creatively and independently, can develop their own, self-directed exit plans from poverty and dependency mentality.
BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc. is 501(c)3 non-profit youth empowerment and mentoring organization established to promote the arts for young women of color, as well as to encourage dialogue and analysis of the ways women of color are portrayed in the media. Since 2006, BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Has been dedicated to the healthy development of young women and girls. BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Seeks to build the self-esteem and self-worth of young women of color by changing their outlook on life, broadening their horizons, and helping them to empower themselves.
Kimberlyn is the second Liberian to attend the Black Girls Leadership Camp in New York through the partnership of AAW Peace and BGR. The first was Ms. Christine Kennedy last year 2012. Their acceptance into the camp came at no small cost because the camp is mostly for black girls in America. But thanks to the instrumentality and ingenuity of Barkue Tubman, founder and executive director of AAW-Peace and with support from the office President Sirleaf, Kimberlyn Boe is the second Liberian girl flown to New York for the camp.
At a first glance of Ms. Boe, slim and looks like a 13 year old, instead of a seventeen-year-old girl is now in New York. Her high cheekbones widens as she lightens up her smile, she isn't shy a bit as she pondered over questions posed to her. Perhaps it was the feisty Liberian attitude of this girl that caught the attention of the judges, but mostly her ability to capably and competently complete the application process that is opened to all Liberian Girls living in Liberia between the ages of 14 - 17 and come from underprivileged circumstances.
To prep her for the trip, Kimberlyn underwent a series of etiquette training, exposure to people from all walks of life that engaged her in dialogue, and also prepped on some social and current events in Liberia and the United states. She was also taken to events and met some personalities in order to gain some sort of exposure and gain more insight on how to interact and articulate oneself.
Her confidence, she says, is what made her think she would win this opportunity. And she did. "...I knew I was going to win," she smiled.
Ms. Boe is more than just an ordinary Liberian girl. A prospective eleventh grader of the Seventh Day Adventist School, Kimberlyn serves as vice president in her class. The task, she says, is a big one. "...It's difficult because you can't please everyone. Sometimes my close friends get angry when I blacklist them on the noise makers' list but I've come to understand that leadership isn't about pleasing everyone."
But that's just the activity she's involved with at school. She also got her hands in extracurricular activities. "I'm part of a group called Young Praiser, we dance to gospel music, I'm the secretary general of the Association of the Development of Young Professionals and I'm also part of a musical group called Sisters of Night, we sing acapella and evangelize to young girls."