"My whole life I've been surrounded by broken women who never got the adequate awareness to determine their own paths," says 21-year-old Lebanese university student Feryal Berjawi.

As a result, she has set out to empower underprivileged girls through a unique program called 'The BetterFly Camp', which she launched in partnership with SMART Center.

The camp is a comprehensive six-week leadership and empowerment program for thirty adolescent refugee girls and their caregivers in Lebanon, aiming to educate them on gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, as well as physical and mental well-being.

Berjawi, who studies Peace and Conflict Studies as well as Economics at Swarthmore College - a private liberal arts college in Pennsylvania - earned a grant that fully funded her project.

She kickstarted 'The BetterFly Camp' in late June, hoping to inspire adolescent refugee girls at the risk of early marriage to become leaders of social change in their communities.

The camp features educational and recreational activities that promote mental wellness and create a sense of belonging.

Among other objectives, the camp educates participants on the changes that take place during puberty, promotes body positivity, and offers tips on how to manage finances. 

"My main personal learning goal is to have the ability to inspire others through my vision. If I manage to empower and inspire a few girls, not necessarily all the participants, by the end of the summer, I will consider myself to have succeeded, and I will see myself becoming the change agent I have desperately wanted to become," Berjawi told StepFeed. 

During the first two weeks of the camp, participants attended an informative session by gender-based violence specialist Rana Aoun as well as a Skype chat with Palestinian feminist vlogger Laila Hzaineh.

"I am happy to be here because I want to make more friends and learn things that are not discussed in my society," Berjawi quoted one participant as saying.

Another participant added, "I love that the program is flexible and that it was designed by women that are not much older than us. I truly feel that I can connect and open up to the teachers because they are also young and they understand what we are going through".

The BetterFly Camp needs your help!

Berjawi has also launched an online fundraiser to provide the participants with basic health and hygiene products that would last for a few months, along with school supplies like backpacks and stationery. 

Additional funds will be used to buy caps and gowns for the camp's graduation ceremony, as some girls and their mothers revealed that they have never seen a family member in a graduation gown.

Follow the initiative on social media and contribute to the fundraiser here. Every dollar counts!