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No, we do not hate boys, but thanks for asking.

At the Shona Project, we work with primarily (but not exclusively) girls. For the most part, people are fine and cool with that. But some people are not, so we’re here to clear things up.

Men and women, boys and girls are all awesome, because we are all people. Everyone has a right to a place in this world, a right to dream big and aim high, and a right to feel loved and supported. Everyone struggles sometimes, everyone has good days and bad, and everyone wants to feel understood. People often reach out to those they can identify with, who they feel understand them, and may have walked in their shoes before, and therefore be able to share wisdom.

Gender is a spectrum, and everyone is different. But, for the most part, girls live a different experience to boys, they deal with different challenges, and are influenced in different ways. For the most part, the pressures girls experience are different to that of boys, and for the most part, society has different expectations of women then they do of men. Not necessarily better or worse. Just different.

At The Shona Project, we do not have an “us and them” view of humanity. We do not blame men for all that is wrong in the world. Choosing to work with girls, does not mean that we don’t care about boys, wish them ill or plan on staging a rebellion and taking over the world. The project was inspired by the lives of two young sisters, Shona and Tammy, both of whom struggled, both of whom felt alone, and both of whom became so consumed and hurt by their teenage experience that, for different reasons, it had a profound effect on the road their lives went down. All of us who contribute to this project can place ourselves back in the shoes of those two girls, and really relate to the experience of today’s young women and the struggles they face. Wanting girls to succeed does not mean that we want boys to fail.

We encourage our girls to not focus on anger, blame or negativity but to consider their own feelings towards themselves and others, to be kind to each other and to not let outside influences stop them from living the dream. We also ask them to try their best to always learn through the hard times, to find a positive and not focus or fixate on the negative (and there is a lot of negativity out there, sheesh).

We all have a role to play in making this world a better place. Every. Single. One of us. This is our effort. Whats yours?