In 2017, when Turma do Bem completed 15 years, a group of “debutantes” was chosen to start a new women’s empowerment program. It arose because we observed that the reality of the beneficiary girls was much more complex than that of the boys. Many grow up learning that men are superior. They earn less than they do, even in identical functions. They are responsible for housework and parenting. And they still suffer the violent consequences of machismo: they are harassed, raped, they are more vulnerable to STIs, they get pregnant early.
Girls 15 is based on the relationship of friendship between girls of different realities. On the one hand, there are the university girls. On the other, our beneficiaries who are attended by the Dentists of Good. From the meeting between the two groups, a network of friendship, exchange of knowledge, redemption of dignity and growth arises. From the collective help, each girl gains strength individually, and goes on to help other girls, breaking a cycle of inequality that concerns the whole society.
In addition to emotional bonding and emotional and intellectual support through Whatsapp conversations or monthly meetings, the Program provides beneficiaries with a range of tools that make them aware of their career and personal and professional goals. Women who have already gained knowledge and victories begin to help others who are not yet at this stage – and who in the future will be a “godmother” of other girls, multiplying and perpetuating the goals of the project.