By Makeida Antonio
A local non-profit organisation created for the celebration and uplifting of young women in Antigua and Barbuda has marked its calendar of events with activities for the 16 Days of Activism.
According to Founder and CEO of Her Shine Theory (HST) Michaela Harris, the organisation is a non-profit brand for young women in Antigua and Barbuda and across the Caribbean region. Harris launched the brand in 2018 by a personal drive to identify and meet the needs of young women in the society.
“Her Shine Theory is driven by a recognised need to support, guide and empower young women to define what authentically being their best self means, rather than succumbing to pressure and societal expectations of women at any given time; while acknowledging and respecting differences amongst women. Her Shine Theory advocates for fierce self-love, self-care and self-respect in its development of young women in our society and creates a sisterhood of support in this endeavour,” she explained in an interview.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many advocacy groups have not been able to operate normally such as have face-to-face meetings and public forums. However, HST has been reaching people where they are, on social media.
“This year, we utilised our social media to support and celebrate the 16 Days of Activism Campaign by reposting information relevant to the campaign both on our personal Instagram stories and the brand’s Instagram story,” Harris said.
Additionally, Harris will show her brand’s participation in the 16 Days of Activism by working closely with the Directorate of Gender Affairs (DoGA) for a candlelight vigil this Friday.
“We decided to also show our support beyond social media by deliberately wearing orange during day-to-day personal activities which has since been posted to our Facebook and Instagram feed in collaboration with the Directorate of Gender Affairs. I will also be in attendance of the Candle Light Vigil hosted by the Directorate of Gender Affairs which takes place on the 10th of December to mark the end of the 16 Days Campaign,” she indicated.
Meanwhile, Harris has her eyes set on the stars as she shared her ambition of wanting HST to become one of the top women empowerment groups. One way she believes she can get there is through partnering with various stakeholders, not only locally but regionally, through accessing financial sponsorships.
“Our vision is to become a leading empowerment non-profit brand specifically for young women alongside other existing organizations within Antigua and Barbuda and subsequently the wider Caribbean, while contributing to the development of our youths.
As such, we strive to align ourselves with other stakeholders who share the beliefs and aims of the brand to establish connections and expand the reach of the movement through increased access to resources,” according to Harris.
Presently, there are 15 ambassadors to the brand, including one ambassador in St Lucia.