The Girl Impact – an opportunity to re-establish a nation in trouble.

Kaylee Prince, African Impact Cape Town Projects Business Manager

The Girl Impact – an opportunity to re-establish a nation in trouble.

The strongest actions for a woman is to love herself, be herself and shine amongst those who never believed she could. – unknown

Who was it in your world that told you that you could be anything, that you could reach for the stars and you were great enough to be able to catch them?

For me, it was my dad. When saying I wanted to be the ‘ball boy’ at the Wimbledon tennis match, he would say, “you can be the champion player”. When saying I wasn’t smart enough, he would say, “you can do anything you set your mind to”. And I have, because he gave me that confidence, that belief in myself.

I now find myself living in Cape Town and working in the community of Khayelitsha. I am seeing girls and women around me without strong role models, strong leaders, strong sense of self. Who is telling these girls that they are great? Hopefully it can be me.

I am fortunate enough to work on The Girl Impact, a project as rewarding as it is difficult. With statistics released showing 1 in 5 women are assaulted by their partner, women and girls in South Africa are facing uphill battles that I cannot even comprehend and yet I still believe they can reach for the stars. We just need to convince them that this is the case. Why shout it from the rooftops though, when a picture can speak the thousand words I know these women (and men) need to hear…

One of our Girl Impact partners, Sonwabile AfterCare, is working with ‘tweens’ to ensure they have the greatest head start on life. The children, who average about 8 years old, spend the afternoons with African Impact volunteers learning, through fun games and activities, the skills they need to succeed in life. One of these skills is Self Confidence; belief that those stars and dreams are achievable, that they too can be the champion player. After working with the children on identifying positive role models, how to speak up and feel confident in themselves, we teemed with Penda Trust and incredible photographer Sarah Isaacs to SHOW the children how strong they are.

The confidence portraits that have been produced cement for me that the future of South Africa lays in the hands of the women of this nation. The girls we work with are strong, they are confident, they can reach for the stars. And now they can SEE it. They can see they have the power to say no, that they have a strength inside of them and that they can achieve what it is they set their minds to. It’s time we all helped to build their future, to lay foundations to hold them up. A woman will reinvest 80-90% of her wage into her family, she will care for them, teach them and help them grow. That is an opportunity to re-establish a nation in trouble.

If we can empower a girl to become a strong woman we can empower an entire community.

… and I think that would make my dad proud too.