Written by: Amna Baloul

Following an enriching summer internship experience with the Global Co Lab Network in which the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) were the framework for its project Teens Dream‘s efforts, I felt highly inspired and empowered to contribute towards this global endeavor.  Specifically, I developed a strong connection and interest in promoting female empowerment, which the Co Lab is actively achieving through its partnership with Brie Mathers’ and her Love the Skin You’re In™ multimedia seminar.

As an intern, I was connected to the Teens Dream Quality Education Dream Hub Mentor and rising first year student at George Washington University, Catherine Meadows, a 2015 winner of the Teens Dream video contest. Catherine has had a life-long dream of creating an international organization to address and mitigate gender-based violence towards females. Through her connections with AFS Intercultural Programs in Ghana, she has been in close communication with her colleagues who have highlighted the growing need for efforts to reduce gender-based violence. Moreover, Fatima Baloul, a sophomore at Thomas Edison High School, has  expressed a strong interest and intention to establish a female empowerment organization at her own school centered around spirituality and discovering one’s innate greatness.

Together, Catherine, Fatima, and myself are combining our visions of promoting mindfulness and action towards female empowerment to develop an international network of youth-led clubs and initiatives for the rising generation of women around the world: The International Movement for Resilience, Authenticity, and Empowerment (IMRAA): A Coalition of Women for Women. IMRAA will encourage youth to actively work towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals three and five: Good Health & Well-Being and Gender Equality. We believe this will heighten student’s global awareness on how we are intentionally working towards improving  and enhancing the condition of our world. IMRAA will be the center project of the new Teens Dream Gender Equality Dream Hub, encouraging youth from around the world to begin similar clubs or an IMRAA branch at their high schools! Stay tuned for Fatima’s unveiling of the IMRAA branch at Thomas Edison High School!

This past September 20th, IMRAA at the College of William & Mary held its official interest meeting, in which many students from diverse academic, cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds united and shared their hopes for the organization as well as their  beliefs on the value of female empowerment. The IMRAA Co-Founders at the college presented on the background, purpose, mission, framework, and trajectory of the organization. More importantly, they emphasized the importance of building a safe, intersectional space where women of all races, religions, gender expressions, sexualities, socioeconomic statuses, abilities, and political views have a strong network of women behind them encouraging them to go forth, develop healthy and mindful habits, and live confidently. IMRAA at William & Mary will be moving forward in the recognition process with Student Leadership Development, and will begin hosting regular meetings soon this semester on Thursdays from 6:00- 7:00 PM.

This organization is a growing movement of national and international student networks  to empower the rising generation of women around the world, and it is a highly special experience to witness its current development. If you are interested in beginning an IMRAA branch at your school, please contact: imraa.coalition@gmail.com. For more information, see our IMRAA presentation here, — Please join us.