This was the first ever event the town of Medina had seen from the Pink House, so as you can imagine this was a significant moment for all the staff and girls. The event consisted of a number of different performances in dance, drama and poetry.
The night before the event we had a very jam packed Pink House for a rehearsal with all 50 girls, this was the first time all the girls had been in one space dancing together so as you can imagine it wasn’t the most relaxing of Friday evenings. My level of Portuguese is still very basic so trying to organise 50 girls all at the same time to do a dance together and make it look good wasn’t easy at all. I struggled with even the most simple of instructions such as; keep in a straight line, put effort in, smile and have spacial awareness . At times I wondered how we was going to pull this off, it wasn’t easy but by the end of the rehearsal I was feeling more positive.
This was the view of the square before the event started, the sign reads; ‘Meninadança the dream is realised.’ Rita had worked really hard to get everything organised for the event and her hard work paid off, the square looked amazing. As I arrived in the square and looked at the rows of empty chairs and was a little nervous that the girls would be performing to a sparse audience.
Thankfully I couldn’t have wished for a better outcome; to my surprise throughout the evening the square became so busy that there was only standing space available. Many of the girls parents, families and friends came to enjoy the evening and see the girls showcase what they had achieved at the Pink House in the last 6 weeks.
As the girls walked into the square there was a great atmosphere as the crowd clapped and cheered to welcome 50 very excited but nervous girls. As the girls took their seats and Rita began to welcome everyone, I could tell this was going to be a fabulous night.
We started the evening with a video of the girls, it was a completion of the last 6 weeks in the Pink House showing the girls participating in different activities. This was a really emotional moment as myself, the girls and the other staff looked back at some of the achievements we’d made since the Pink House opened. It touched my heart to see all the staff welling up with tears of joy as the girls looked on beaming with pride.
The last 6 weeks in the Pink House had been extremely hectic and watching the video made me realise I had been so caught up with preparations I hadn’t stopped to take in and appreciate the precious moments that signified all we had achieved in the Pink House. The video reinforced the importance of the work we do with these girls and really made it apparent how amazing the last 6 weeks have been.
As the evening went on it got better and better all the girls performed really well and supported one another fabulously. As I looked over to some of the parents I could see they were beaming with pride as they watched their daughters perform.
During the evening Rita read a letter written by one of the girls from the centre it said:
“Lord, Will nobody hear me? Will I have to suffer for the rest of my life? Is it because I don’t have a mother? Lord, help me to overcome this life that I have, and Lord bless the people at Meninadança who have become my new family, and my two sisters. Lord, thank you for Rita because she is that marvellous woman who I got to know and has made me her friend. She is helping me to get over the sadness.
Lord, thank you for my life.
The girl and her sister wept as the reality of their lives visibly moved some of the audience and led to one of the most memorable moments of the evening as one of the Pink House team and the girl that wrote the letter shared an affectionate embrace and consoled each other.
All 50 of the girls closed the show with a performance of Shakira’s Waka Waka, girls that were once rivals were now working together dancing in the same space and supporting one another. This was such an amazing moment and a huge achievement by the girls.
Rita’s final words to the crowd were:
“Things have changed. The girls you see here tonight were since used as objects on this square. No-one helped them, in fact many of you swapped them for money or drugs. They are no longer alone. They now have someone to defend them. From this might in you will look at them differently.”
The whole night left me feeling ever so proud and happy to be a part of such an amazing team and project. As the girls performed I could see many of them were so proud to be up there, the hard work and effort they’d all put in had really paid off. We’ve come a long way in 6 short weeks and this event was proof of that progression, It was magical to see girls who have very little self worth and confidence performing to a crowd of over 200 people. Many of them have achieved very little in life before and have been made to feel worthless by their own parents and family, tonight was a very different reality for the girls and I could see the sense of achievement in many of them.
As the square cleared and I packed up the equipment with the rest of the team I couldn’t help but think that the event had made quite the impression on the town of Medina, the girls had proven that they are worthy of so much more than what life had given them thus far and they’d come to the realisation that they are worthy of their dreams.
It’s official…..The Pink House has arrived in Medina!