Profile of a volunteer: Basma Reda Ramsis

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Basma Reda Ramsis is a Girl Guide leader in Egypt and Fine  Arts student. She led on International Day of the Girl activities in October and explains why non-formal learning activities help girls have an impact in the world around them.

As a young leader my role is show younger girls the ability to work in a team. I help them keep their minds alert to everything going on  around them in society, and to think about ways to solve community issues, so when they have the opportunity to work outside the  Guiding Movement they become role models. My role is also to increase younger girls’ health and physical activity, to awaken their sense of adventure, to develop their creativity and sense of fun in a way to benefit them later on in life.

On International Day of the Girl [which took place on 11 October, with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts participating around the world], I decided that during our Guides meeting I would to ask each of the Girl Guides to prepare activities for the rest of the group. The presentations included a morse code test, a talk about the perfect camp design, physical activities and fun games. But we also explored more serious topics. Marina, a new Girl Guide in the group, had this amazing idea to talk about spreading positive energy. It was an inspiring talk, and each girl left the lecture very happy and  full of positive energy.

Our Leader Sandra wanted to let the girls express themselves about issues affecting girls in the world today, so each girl said what she was against. These issues included harassment; discrimination; disrespect; violence because they're girls; girls under the age of nine getting married because their fathers said so; treating girls  unfairly and not letting them get an education, do sports or go to  dance classes. We also talked about the difference they feel  between girls and boys in our society, how boys can do almost whatever they want but girls can't do the half of these things. We  then discussed positive examples of how women are leading changein societies, and I showed a film  Secrets of the World's Most Powerful Women by Forbes, which features global women leaders talking about how they achieved their success.

I think it is important to celebrate being girls, especially in societies where we are treated as minorities. We need to feel some pride and take our position in society, which increases self-confidence and courage. Activities like International Day of the Girl help girls to have the power and the ability to say “no” when they disagree and “yes” when they agree with something happening in the world. It is important to educate girls – through formal and non-formal  education – as we did on International Day of the Girl, because they are equals in the society we're living in. They are taking part in society and they need to be educated and cultured as well as boys, because that's what separates a developed society and a non-developed society. The earlier we are exposed to non-formal and formal learning, the more powerful we become. Through culture and education, people are more open to new opportunities and to working alongside other people.

Guiding has helped me to become more responsible, punctual and creative. It gave me a sense of responsibility towards my society and gave me the push to make a change on a small-scale in my Guiding life, but that is reflected on a bigger scale in my community.

Through Guiding I have worked on charity and community service projects such as ‘orphan’s day’ and ‘elder shelter’. I have been to upper Egypt for a service camp to help deliver workshops to people living in poor areas. Now I am working on a maternity health awareness project. We are running an event for women in our community and beyond to raise awareness about the importance of women’s health to both children’s and mother’s lives.

Guiding has helped me to understand the importance of learning and being aware of different issues; to always learn and grow in knowledge; to always listen to whoever is talking, because no matter how old or young they are, they are teaching me something I might never have known by myself. My association [the Egypt Girl Guides Association] helped me and encouraged me when they discovered my leadership potential. They have pushed me to do my best and see projects through; they taught me the Guiding values, which I try to live by day by day; and of course I see that in my sense of initiation and my perseverance in everything I do.