NPO seeks to uplift teen girls

2018-02-28 06:00
Pictured here are the girls from Triomf Primary School who attend the classes with Wilma Plaatjies and a local volunteer, Brenda Harris. Photo:ANIKA DE BEER

Pictured here are the girls from Triomf Primary School who attend the classes with Wilma Plaatjies and a local volunteer, Brenda Harris. Photo:ANIKA DE BEER

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“ANYTHING in life is possible when girls are empowered to go out into this world, knowing with confidence that they can become future leaders and future career women.”

These are the words of Wilma Plaatjies, founder of the Caterpillar 2 Butterfly NPO, which seeks to uplift the northern areas of Nelson Mandela Bay.

Plaatjies started the NPO two years ago and chose to focus on girls between the ages of 12 and 19.

Her objective is to help create a brighter future for them by educating them about substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and the dangers of unprotected sex to reduce teenage pregnancy and the abuse of alcohol and drugs through counselling and awareness programmes.

“Youngsters are using drugs, alcohol and teenage pregnancies and it all seems like it’s normal to do or use these substances. I realise that our young people need to be taken back to the basic principles,” Plaatjies said.

She offers free classes to the girls that teach them a wide variety of life skills, including how to have a positive self-image, apply make-up, present themselves in public and work with finances. “Having role models from our community will help the girls see that they can rise above their circumstances,” she said.

Caterpillar 2 Butterfly presents the girls with certificates for the courses they complete and they often help some of the girls get jobs as well.

Plaatjies, along with a few local volunteers, currently offers classes at the West End Community Centre, Booysens Park High School, Triomf Primary School, George Botha Community Centre in Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Resource Centre in Salsoneville.

She would like to see the programme expand to other northern suburbs, but will need volunteers to assist her.

“We currently have a sponsor to teach the girls how to surf, but we are looking for a sponsor who can help us with transportation to Summerstrand and from Salsoneville. Our girls really want to learn how to surf,” Plaatjies revealed excitedly.

“Caterpillar 2 Butterfly is to enable girls to know that whatever they put their minds to, they can achieve it.”

Girls between the ages of 12 and 19, who are interested in attending the free classes, can contact Wilma Plaatjies on 083 375 2044 or wplaaitjies@yahoo.com.

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