From immature and unnoticed to outspoken and powerful. This is the change that Kinderfonds MAMAS wants to achieve for thousands of South African girls. That is why close to 1700 girls will start to be part in the innovative programme PowerGirls from 2020. two thousand girls per year starting in 2020 are taking part. Vulnerable girls will be educated to become proud, strong and responsible young women.
Girls are especially vulnerable
South Africa is one of the most dangerous and dead-end countries for young girls to grow up in. One out of three girls will be sexually abused by the time she is eighteen. Due to poverty, criminality, despair and a lack of good role-models, they often fall by the wayside while still young. Teen pregnancy and school dropout lie in waiting. In addition, many girls grow up without the support of their parents, as almost two million South African children have lost one or both parents to AIDS. This vulnerability imprisons South-African girls in a cycle of poverty and helplessness.
Making sensible choices
MAMAS Alliance wants to break this negative cycle with PowerGirls. For seven consecutive years, these girls aged between nine and sixteen, will receive weekly intensive and inspiring workshops on future-oriented themes. Led by a specially trained PowerGirls-MAMA they get stuck into themes such as friendship, sexuality, health, respect and fairness. Through discussion, music and theatre they regain access to emotions that have often been closed off.
A dream is fulfilled
Magali Malherbe, Managing Director of MAMAS Alliance is extremely proud of the PowerGirls programme. “This changes the way of life for these vulnerable girls from within. The chance that a girl from the township is raped is higher than her chance of completing secondary school. Thanks to this programme these girls dare to stand up for themselves and to make sensible choices. And it will have a positive impact on their surroundings and community. Via the PowerGirls hope and unity will spread through the townships like wildfire.
Now she plays in the square with the other PowerGirls and is no longer afraid to trust others. “I am extremely proud of her,” says MAMA Carey-Lee. “She has learned how to express herself. Now she comes to me and tells me what is going on. She chats to other girls and even her grades have improved.”
And that is already after six months. You can imagine how outspoken and strong these girls are after having completed seven years of this wonderful programme.