The Shona Project aims to educate, empower and inspire todays Irish girls to become tomorrows resilient, capable and confident young women.
We address issues such as anxiety & depression, bullying, body image, school stress, family difficulties, relationships and equality. We provide girls with information, access to positive female role models, and a place to share their stories.
We also encourage young women to participate in STEM, sports, the arts, business, politics and activism, and to promote the benefits of all these activities in terms of self-esteem, confidence and motivation.
Awards received to date include:
- Social Entrepreneurs Ireland awardees (October 2017), receiving funding and support which will help us to expand and create further impact.
- Social Innovation Fund Ireland awardees (July 2018), which included funding scale and create further impact.
- Best Social/Community Enterprise Waterford Business Awards (February 2018).
- Finalist: Best Business Blog, Irish Blog Awards
- Image Magazine Business Woman Of The Year Finalist
- CEO of the year, Irish Women’s Awards 2018
We have 3 distinct areas of activity:
Website: We have a thriving and growing online community, which consists of our website (www.shona.ie) and our Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter pages. Our website has three functions;
- To provide girls with advice and information on all of the topics listed above. We have a number of professionals including GP’s, Teachers, Counsellors, Business Leaders and public figures who all give frank and honest advice and information which may not otherwise be available to young women.
- To share national and international news that may be of interest. Such news items might promote understanding of diversity and difference, raise civic and political awareness and inspire girls to consider new or different careers.
- To provide young women with an opportunity to share their own stories. Our “Your Stories” section features some personal accounts written by girls in a bid to show others that they are not alone. This feature is vitally important, as so many girls struggle to identify or verbalise their own feelings. These pieces are very powerful, and beautifully written.
Workshops: We have travelled all over Ireland delivering anti-bullying workshops in schools. Our testimonials and feedback have been very encouraging (see website), and many of the schools visited have noted a positive difference in how girls treat each other. We are currently developing a number of initiatives with national organisations to promote reading, STEM and sports primarily, and have long term plans in other areas. You can watch some girls from Kilkenny taking the Shona Pledge on RTE’s six:one news here.
In late 2018 we developed a primary school curriculum for 5th & 6th class girls and boys which covers topics such as influence, identity, empathy, kindness, emotions and social activism. You can learn more about it here.
In December 2018, we partnered with Girl Impact, an organisation that work with teenage girls across Africa. We piloted a number of Shona workshops in Zambia, and are now working together to develop to programme to be delivered across Africa.
Events: We have held a number of events including a dance show in Waterford in 2017, featuring young dancers who choreographed pieces based on their experiences, challenges and feelings about being a girl in Ireland. In February 2018 we launched our first book club. In October 2018 we held the first South East Girls conference in Waterford. (Watch highlights here). We are already working on plans to grow this conference annually and offer it in a number of locations across Ireland.