Local Community Groups Launch Go Fund Me Campaign to Support Richmond Area Teen Girls Collaborating to Study Abroad from August 6 – 21, 2015


Richmond, VA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/16/2015 -- Five community organizations from the greater Richmond area are collaborating on a once in a lifetime opportunity to send 15 local girls to Brazil. The Essence of a Goddess study abroad program will explore the rich cultural traditions of Afro-Brazilian drumming, dance, history, art, and culture. Girls For A Change/Camp Diva, Drums No Guns, Culture4MyKids, Ezibu Muntu, and the Richmond Youth Peace Project will provide some of the funding for the girls to participate in this amazing cultural experience. Each of the girls will raise a portion of the cost for their trip.

The participants will spend 3 days in Rio de Janeiro exploring world famous attractions and 2 days in the mountains of Cachoeira attending the Boa Morte Festival to celebrate Irmandade da Boa Morte or Sisterhood of the Boa Morte. Originating in the slave quarters in Brazil, this highly active spiritual society of African-Brazilian women, descendants of enslaved Africans, worked together towards freeing others from captivity and continue to preserve traditional African cultural traditions in Brazil.

Most of the Essence of a Goddess program will take place in Salvador da Bahia, former capitol of Brazil. The young ladies will spend 10 days in Salvador engaging in workshops with educational organizations, community groups, cultural institutions, social justice projects, and primarily with DIDA, internationally renown all-female samba school.

Before leaving for Brazil, the young ladies will participate in weekly workshops that address important personal and community issues like health, self-image, relationships, conflict resolution, and trauma healing. Upon their return to Richmond, they will present a back to school performance entitled, You're So Special, directed by Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, founder and artistic director of The Conciliation Project, professor in the theatre department of VCU, and original member of the cast of "For Colored Girls".

Talking about the vision behind this project, Dr. Ram Bhagat says, "Our study abroad program is a cross-cultural journey, a dynamic collaboration between the African American and Afro-Brazilian community, including educators, artists, social scientists, community organizers, government officials, youth leaders, and healing practitioners.  We need your support to make this rich, cultural, transformative, and essential healing happen for our girls."

Angela Patton, CEO of Girls For A Change and founder Camp Diva has recently launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise $25,000 for this project. She says, "The Essence of a Goddess study abroad program has been designed to benefit young women by expanding their outlook and helping them meet other young women that face similar problems as theirs." The Essence of a Goddess Study Abroad Program will provide an opportunity for the participants to experience the transformative nature of art, culture, and education culminating in a creative project for the Richmond community."

Please support this amazing program, using the hashtag #FundGirlsToBrazil

To make a contribution to this great cause, please visit