Partner Q & A: Female Only – Chenxi Ouyang of the Bright and Beautiful Girl Project
The Story of the Bright and Beautiful Girl Project: Business major Juliet met film student Chenxi on Semester at Sea in Spring 2013. During their journey around the world, they saw girls in developing countries suffering from child marriage, sex trafficking, and other such atrocities. They began to meditate on how to bring change to the global girl community in a social innovative way. Influenced by the Unreasonable Institute and the documentary Half the Sky, Juliet and Chenxi embarked on their mission.
Juliet and Chenxi decided to launch the project in China. Teaming up with good friends who are also passionate about the same cause, they went to rural Yunan to better understand the girls’ needs.
The team encountered three groups of girls who are different in age and education levels. By conversing with them, the team then realized that the girls’ needs are far beyond material goods. Instead, they need care, love, and societal value. Most of all, they need education, the kind that enables them to create the change they want to see for themselves.
Here’s an interview with one of its co-founders: Chenxi Ouyang
Describe your work in your own words.
Bright & Beautiful dedicates to help left-behind girls in rural China build self-esteem and unlock potential by bringing them various forms of arts.
How do you define rites of passage or talk about it in relationship to your work?
Rites of passage is the preparation of our soul to take on challenges in the transitional stages in our lives.
What brought you to this work? Are there specific mentors or teachers that come to mind?
A trip around the world brought me and my co-founder Juliet Zheng to the world of working with girls. Melissa Michaels introduced as to the spiritual dimension.
What have been your greatest lessons and in turn greatest joys in establishing it?
We’ve learnt to let go of our expectations and really see the growth in every girl as it is.
What interested you about being part of the Youth Passageways community-network, what do you see as the main benefit from being a partner?
I get to meet amazing people, who share the same passion and doing similar work with me. The power of the collaboration is huge.
Is there a specific tool are resource that has been the most useful to you?
Haven’t thought about it yet.
Are there any papers or research that has come out which has aided in your work?
What brought you to focusing on a specific gender? How do you view the role of gender in this work?
Inspired by the documentary Half the Sky and Nike Foundation’s girl effect, we believe that the potential in girls once unleashed, is fundamental to the progress of humanity. When a girl becomes a woman, she will shape three generations: her parents, her husband and her children. The investment in girls thus is the most rewarding.
Does your work touch on non-conforming gender roles? What are tools or approaches that you have found or developed to make a more inclusive and relevant environment for these participants?
Yes. We are running a 5-day arts camp for girls in rural China. We hope to help them build self-esteem and unlock potential by brining them various forms of arts.
What is your hope or vision for the work/field as a whole, what do you see as our learning edges as a community?