By: Pamela Mkhize
It’s not every day that one would meet young people driven by a vision to help others. After being rejected to study towards their Master’s degree in psychology, a group of friends decided to start a Non-Governmental Organisation for young girls, 10EighTeen Girls for Change, with the aim to inspire young girls to grow into successful, God-fearing and goal driven women one day.
During a conversation I had with one of the founders of the NGO,I realized that these young ladies love what they do so much that are willing to sacrifice the little time that they have from their busy schedules to get this organization off the ground.Pamela Mkhize caught up with them to find out more about the organization, their vision and future plans.
So tell us more about 10EighTeen Girls for Change
This is an organization that deals with young girls with the aim of empowering them to overcome all the challenges there are faced with in their various communities. We are here to help them achieve their desired goals and see their dreams come to life.
What inspired the name?
The name 10EighTeen Girls for Change was inspired by our target market, young girls between the ages of 10-18. We want to see change and transformation in all spheres of their lives.
We feel that this is the age where most young people are faced with many challenges such as peer pressure and making the right career decisions.
Who are the founders?
Nombeko Chonco (23), Slindile Ninela (22) and Sthabile Ndlovu (22) are the founding members of the organization. Who, at a later stage invited other ladies to help carry the vision and are thus referred to as the sisterhood connection.
What inspired you’ll to start this organisation?
We were inspired by the very communities that we grew up in and how they are plagued with social ills which affect many young people in our society.
What do you aim to achieve through this organisation?
- The organisations aims to empower young ladies within our communities to overcome gender stereotypes and take on leadership roles in their schools, communities and in the country by providing them with the necessary leadership skills through leadership seminar and workshops.
- To create a platform for interaction and support for young ladies by creating a mentorship programmes (sisterhood connection).
- We also want to build awareness about life issues which are faced by young people by creating awareness programmes, and providing crucial skills in dealing with such issues through educational seminars and workshops.
- To promote health, wellbeing and beauty by working with health & beauty professionals
- We want to provide young ladies with the necessary information (Tertiary applications, bursaries, funding, etc.) needed to make informed decisions regarding their education and careers through career guidance and support.
Where do you want to see the organization in 5 years?
We hope to see the organisation having grown tremendously in the next five years. We want to have more sisterhood members and to have a sisterly connection in every city in South Africa. We also want to see the objectives of the organisation having been achieved. We also hope to see the organisation build strong relationships with other organisations that have similar aims as 10EighTeen Girls for change.
How is your organisation different from any other organizations?
Our organization is different from any other organization in terms of its nature. Our target market differs from the most. Usually community development organizations widely target young people from the age of 14 to 35; both females and males are usually included in most organizations, whereas the 10eighTeen organization only focuses on girls. The structure of our programme makes it different from other organizations. We believe that our programmes are relevant, exciting and fun.
What would your advice to young girls be?
You are so much more than just a body. You are your dream, your achievements, your qualities, your goals, your love, your values, your heart, your soul, your flaws, your fears, your preferences, your aspirations. You are a unique and complex being; and that is already perfect. It is said that little girls with dreams become women with vision; these are the women we strive to see!
What would you say is the greatest challenge that the average girl is facing in society?
Young girls are faced with many challenges from this age and while they still continue to grow. The belief is that ages from 10-18 years are fundamentally an important transitional time. It is a time whereby they need to be provided with guidance, support and encouragement to open up and discover who she is as an individual and how she desires to fulfil her unique and valued purpose on the earth.
The challenges that the 10eighTeen Organization will focus on are those that include academic performance, body image and beauty, confusion about direction and future, dating (choices, relationships, break-ups, sexual activity); friendship dynamics (growing apart, betrayal, conflicts, negative competition); goal setting, pursuit and achievement; purge low self-esteem; address peer, media & self-imposed pressure, educate on time management, organization & life skills; promotion of teen / parent communication.
What keeps you going as an organisation?
Having a vision and having a sense of direction, determination, commitment, passion, sacrifices and loving what we do.
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Pamela Mkhize is a 25 year-old BA Media Studies Graduate from UKZN, more than 3 years experience as a journalist. Currently working as a Copywriter for a Digital Media Agency, Freelance journo and passionate about Youth and Children’s Ministry.