emPOWERgirls: Inspiring, intergenerational and intercultural exchange by doing good!

June 16, 2021

In our ’emPOWERgirls Stories’ we highlight power women in UWC Maastricht’s community. This week you can read about Sandra and Christelle. Sandra is working at UWC Maastricht and founder of the Female Empowerment Network. She is meeting Christelle, a 19 year old student from Burkina Faso.

“UWC Maastricht had such a big impact on me, in the sense that my perspectives have broadened up and my way of thinking has improved,” says Christelle. Beaming, she tells Sandra about her last two years at the college. “I used to underestimate myself. Now I know I’m strong and have self-confidence. I’ve learned so much here! Eventually, I want to set up my own company and really contribute something to my home country Burkina Faso.” Christelle has even more ambitions: “For sure something has to change about the perception some have of education there. School really isn’t a waste of time or money. I hope I can be an example to other young girls, so they understand that they can do so many great things, really get something out of their lives!”

Sandra van den Tillaard, Director of Advancement at UWC Maastricht, listens proudly. It is partly thanks to her efforts and those of her colleagues that Christelle has made it this far. “As an Advancement Team, we work hard to raise money to bring the most diverse group of students possible to UWC Maastricht, and Christelle is one of them. She’s about to graduate, and of course that is why we do what we do!” 

Recently, the Advancement Team started a network that is specifically aimed at bringing girls from the Middle East and North Africa to UWC Maastricht. The girls pass the skills they learn and the experience they gain in Maastricht on to their communities when they return home. Family members as well as whole towns and villages benefit from one girl’s education. “It’s kind of a women-for-women project,” Sandra says. “On the one hand, we make sure these girls get a good education, on the other hand it is very interesting for the women in the network to get to know each other. It’s a win-win! Our network allows for inspiring, intergenerational and intercultural exchange. The events we organize are different from any other event many people have attended before. And by interacting with our students and seeing the world through their eyes, you get plenty of food for thought. The best way to make you and your company ready for the next generation!”


Would you like to contribute to helping girls like Christelle and being part of our network? Then let us know!

On our website you can read more about our Female Empowerment Network. Feel free to email us at advancement@uwcmaastricht.nl and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Picture by Vanessa Smit