Galetsang Phalatse believes that it is important for young women around the world to be equipped with the right knowledge to prevent HIV from spreading.
The 14-year-old is one of three South Africans selected to represent adolescent girls in an advocacy campaign for the Global Fund’s seventh replenishment in the US.
The Grade 9 pupil at Curro Aurora in Johannesburg will partake in various activities between June and August to help make global leaders aware of the plight of girls and young women in Africa.
The Global Fund campaign runs from March to October every three years to advocate for the end of HIV and Aids, TB and malaria as epidemics.
The fund raises and invests billions of dollars every three years in over 100 countries and this year’s pledging conference will be hosted by President Joe Biden in New York.
Phalatse has been devoted to HIV prevention for as long as she remembers.
She said being able to raise awareness of the importance of comprehensive sexual education and better access to HIV prevention methods on the global stage was central to her efforts.
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It was a compelling HIV prevention video she made for people in her local community that caught the attention of mentor Sibulele Sibaca, the founder of Sibulele Sibaca Foundation, who was orphaned at age 16 when both her parents died as a result of HIV/Aids.
Sibaca encouraged Phalatse to get involved with the Global Fund campaign, and with the help of the NGO, Impact Drivers, Phalatse managed to create an inspirational pitch at the start of 2022.
In March, she was invited to be a panellist at an International Women’s Day event held in Sandton, where she addressed guests on pertinent issues affecting young girls today, alongside well-known celebrities and HIV activists.
JC Engelbrecht, executive head at Curro Aurora, described Phalatse as exceptionally passionate about women empowerment and had previously spearheaded a pad drive at the school to help prevent less fortunate girls from missing school because of their periods.
At the end of her advocacy campaign, Phalatse will attend a high-level meeting in Washington DC, hosted by Nomaindiya Mfeketo, the South African ambassador to the US.