Teaching girls their worth

2019-10-29 06:00
A Shine Girl programme for Grade 5 girls St John’s RC Primary School will be offered to girls in other grades as well next year. From left are Shaylyn Philander, Imaan Samaas. Maryam Dawood, Caryn Wells, Lisa Poole and Toufeeqah Parenzee. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

A Shine Girl programme for Grade 5 girls St John’s RC Primary School will be offered to girls in other grades as well next year. From left are Shaylyn Philander, Imaan Samaas. Maryam Dawood, Caryn Wells, Lisa Poole and Toufeeqah Parenzee. PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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After witnessing a child cry in a school’s corridor, a cook’s motherly instincts kicked in and she wanted to help.

Caryn Wells started a Shine Girl programme at St John’s RC Primary School, focused on teaching Grade 5 girls about their strengths, worth and purpose. Participants join voluntarily and the programme runs weekly. It is now in its fourth week and has 19 regular girls.

Each session covers a different topic relevant to self-development, enhancing social skills, creating an understanding of relationships and other aspects of life.

Wells says she felt the girls needed a boost to be able to understand and to cope with different situations.

She shares the knowledge she gained from a course, which focused on building self-confidence, offered by Hill Song Church.

“A girl needs to know exactly what her worth is and her role in society. I feel we should educate and motivate them to do whatever they want,” Wells says.

She says youth in her community, especially girls, need intervention.

According to Wells, socio-economic issues, gang violence and lack of opportunities in the Kenfac area could be demotivating for young girls, especially those who were directly affected.

Wells started small but she hopes to see the programme grow to equip more girls at the school or even to expand outside of the school.

So far, she says, the girls are responding well.

“They are enjoying it a lot and it is very rewarding. Even if I only make a difference in the lives of one or two girls, I will feel fulfilled.”

One of the girls, Maryam Dawood, who has been with the programme from the beginning, says it has taught her a lot. She says it made her feel brave and confident.

Toufeeqah Parenzee, another participant, says she learned a girl has power and should not worry about what other people say about her.

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