Be unique, be happy!

By admin
20 November 2013

YOU Miss Teen Cindy Makita believes the focus for young girls should shift from wanting to be thin and beautiful to being happy and confident and that’s what her charity tries to do.

My passion for empowering young women developed as I discovered more about myself through the YOU Miss Teen pageant. With the various charity initiatives I participated in, I found I loved working with teenage girls the most.

One day, when thinking about what I wanted to achieve as YOU Miss Teen and how I was going to plant my seed of growth into my community, I thought about what I could do to utilise my talents to help others. Then it hit me that I wanted to inspire young South African girls. I came up with the name Golden Fires for my initiative. Golden for young girls realising their incredible worth, and Fires for having a fiery ambition to achieve one’s dreams and goals.

LEFT: Handing out Golden Fires motto cards to the girls as they enter the venue. RIGHT: Golden Fires Motto. Each girl was given a small card with the motto on it to keep and refer back to when they were feeling down or need some motivation.

In the day and age we live in, young girls are bombarded with images, stereotypes and ideas of the type of women they should be. The majority of those ideas are built on the basis that an external image is everything. Young girls are fed this lie from a young age, and the sad reality is the main goal in their lives shifts from being successful and happy to being thin and beautiful. Young girls get excluded from cliques in school just because they don’t look a certain way. They get teased because their body shape isn’t what society wants it to be. Young girls are faced with so much pressure to look a certain way, being unique just isn’t an option.

Listening to the girls’ input into one of the discussions we had.

My Golden Fires charity initiative aims to encourage young teenage girls around Johannesburg to achieve their goals and reach for their dreams despite their past or current circumstances. In our South Africa today, society is hungry for strong, ambitious young people who will uplift communities and pass these qualities on to future generations. I feel as young women we need to have a fire burning within us to achieve our goals and be the best that we can be with the talents God has given us. I call it “having ambition like a fire”, stopping at nothing until you’ve reached your dreams. I focus on the fact that education is the key to success. I motivate them to work hard in their studies and also to pursue what they love.

LEFT: Giving my motivational talk. RIGHT: With some of the girls attending a workshop.

My initiative also aims to encourage young girls to know their worth. I try to instill a hope in them that each one of us is beautiful and valuable regardless of what society says. We do self-confidence building activities to boost the girl’s self-assurance, talk about our goals and ambitions and share our talents with one another; we also gave one another advice on how to achieve our goals . . .  all while having fun! Spending the day with these girls from various girls’ homes around Johannesburg is truly an amazing experience.

Although this is not a typical charity initiative involving giving food or educational supplies, I feel I have given these girls a little seed that they can grow to help them succeed in the future. I hope I manage to change a girl’s view on life and she see thats external image isn’t everything and that with hard work, dedication and “ambition like a fire” you can achieve anything you put your mind to, even if you find yourself in the toughest circumstances. I hope to one day extend my initiative to the broader South Africa relaying my message to hundreds of young girls.

LEFT: Shopping for gifts for the girls with my friend Noma Mtshali. RIGHT: Having some fun with the YOU Miss Teen sash.

Greatness has to start somewhere; it’s about taking that first step, having a “I can” attitude, and ignoring or removing all negativity around you. Find what it is that you’re passionate about, set goals for yourself and stop at nothing until you’ve achieved them! There will be times when we fail and when things don’t go the way we expect, but keep faith! Hold on to your dreams and keep your eye on the prize. God has a perfect plan for every single one of us; you just have to trust that He has everything under control.

-Cindy

Bubbly teenager Cindy Makita is the current YOU Miss Teen and will be blogging for us twice a month between her charity work and Matric exams.

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