FORT PICKETT, VA --
Task Force Pickett celebrated the International Day of the Girl with over three hundred Afghan guests with activities, social events, and sports on Oct. 11, 2021.
The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of the Girl on Dec. 19, 2011, to address the unique challenges girls encounter across the globe, promote female empowerment, and strive for the fulfillment of their human rights.
“This event allowed us to highlight the critical role women and girls play in their community and help them develop skills for their expanded opportunities as they transition into American culture,” explained Dr. Delaina Sawyers, the Task Force Pickett Gender Advisor.
Afghan guests and Task Force Pickett personnel first gathered at the athletic field to play soccer, volleyball, and frisbee. The groups were split up by age, with younger children playing games such as Duck-Duck-Goose, tag, and singing along to children's songs.
The variety of activities was purposeful; one goal of the event was to encourage the girls to try new activities. “This will motivate them to open themselves up to new experiences as they start a new chapter of their lives in the United States,” said Dr. Sawyers.
For the service members, the event’s significance was deeper than simply celebrating International Day of the Girl; this was a moment to build friendships, show their support, and help the girls build confidence.
“It was nice to spend the afternoon with them,” said Lance Cpl. Wendy Cifuentes, an administration specialist with Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, currently supporting the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “I feel like they will be able to come out more often and be comfortable being themselves.”
As part of Operation Allies Welcome, and in support of the Department of Homeland Security, Task Force Pickett is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for Afghan evacuees at Fort Pickett.