“In my village, whenever girls are in trouble, the Tibeb girls come to the rescue.” These are the words that introduce us to Ethiopia’s Tibeb girls as we watch the teaser video for these new African superheroes.
The girl child in Africa faces a myriad of challenges that ensure that she can never have too much support or too much positive messaging. From sad stories of rape and sexual assault to stubborn traditions that often project her as being a second rate citizen; not as important as the boy child, there is a need for a different narrative for her to cue into.
A new program in Ethiopia is trying to provide that different narrative. The Tibeb girls is the name of said program and it currently exists, majorly, in the form of a new action-drama radio show.
It features three young girls with superpowers that they target towards fighting injustice and any harmful practice that Ethiopian girls face. As the creators of the program put it;
“Tibeb Girls puts girls’ issues at the center and provides examples of girls asserting themselves, problem-solving, and implementing solutions”
Things like child marriage, access to education and female gender mutilation are tackled in the fun and engaging ways that are a characteristic of animes or cartoons by the superheroes. The hope of the program creators is that the Tibeb girls will generate a better understanding of the issues that Ethiopian girls face daily.
We learned quite a bit just by watching the teaser video below;
Each Tibeb girl has a different power with which she fights inequality with her team. Each of the superpowers highlighted by the creators are themselves powerful messages for young girls anywhere in the world.
Here are some of the things we learned while watching the Tibeb girls teaser video;
Girls are powerful and capable:
The first superpower featured is Power Girl who has superhuman strength and speed. Those are two things that are not often considered as part of the arsenal of a female child but every girl should be taught self-empowerment; the fact that she can do whatever she sets her mind to.
Girls should be educated:
Whiz Kid Girl is the second Tibeb girl and she should remind everyone that girls ought to be encouraged in intellectual pursuits. Educating girls equip them with the powers they will need to take on the future like Whiz Kid Girl who can see the future.
Girls are as human as boys:
The last Tibeb girl, Empathy Girl, has the power to feel others’ feelings. She reminds us that girls are human beings with valued feelings that deserve to be paid attention to even as she values the feelings of others.
All in all their superpowers highlight the essential qualities of self-empowerment, education, and compassion that should be shown to girls everywhere. When a girl is self-empowered, educated and compassionate she becomes an unstoppable force for good in her society but she must first be shown the way.
Cartoons have always been a vital way to impart lessons to children and we are glad that Ethiopian girls will have the Tibeb girls to teach them some of these lessons.
The program was created by Whiz Kids Workshop, an Ethiopian company founded by a woman. The first season is currently only available through screenings at schools and events around Ethiopia.
While they plan a second season, Whiz Kids Workshop is pitching the series to broadcasters across Africa to gain a wider audience. There is also an already published comic and the radio series we mentioned earlier.
We honestly need more of this in Africa because the girl child deserves more than she is currently receiving.