As part of Women’s Month commemorations, 13 girls from Garlandale High School were chosen to be part of UWP Consulting’s Nurture a Girl programme which will sponsor pupils at 50 different secondary schools around the country for a year.
Each of the beneficiaries received a personal hygiene kit, and will be given structured opportunities to attend workshops and presentations on anxiety and depression, self-confidence, bullying, and weekly counselling for those in need, as well as peer pressure counselling from the South African Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA). They will also be given advice and taught basic skills. The value of the annual sponsorship is R1 050 a beneficiary.
The project was established in June this year, and according to Nerrisa Ventura from UWP, it aims to give the girls hope that there are people who care out there. The first beneficiaries include the girls considered to be most in need due to personal circumstances.
The beneficiaries also have responsibilities to fulfil, including attending school and passing all subjects.
According to UWP, the teenage years are difficult ones, particularly for girls who are often marginalised and some subject to physical and mental abuse. In poor households their most basic needs are seldom met as incomes have to stretch in multiple directions.
The group said society is patriarchal where young women have very little voice, and where violence against girls and women of all ages has reached epidemic proportions which makes it difficult for teenage girls to excel at school and enter meaningful careers.
“Most of them come from poor backgrounds and they often have a lack of health but they feel that they cannot ask their parents for anything because there is no money. Most of them have said that they have no one to speak to,” said Ms Ventura.
She said that by doing this they hope to lay a solid foundation in the girls’ hearts.
“We want them to know that we do care about them and they don’t have to be afraid to speak out,” she said.
The girls also received wrist bands from UWP to wear as a commitment to the programme.
Shaakirah Heynes, one of the beneficiaries, said: “This is a really nice opportunity to be part of this programme; they are really doing a good job. Now we have someone to help us with our daily struggles.”