A resident of Hanover Park felt so strongly about uplifting young girls in her community that she started a project called Girls in Leadership with the help of a primary school teacher.
A collaboration between Wendy Augusto and Park Fields Primary School teacher Gail Wyngaard led to the establishment of the support group last year. Since then, the project has already shown results.
Augusto was doing practical work at Park Fields Primary School as part of her social auxiliary studies at Akademos Institute of Training (AIT) when she realised the need for a support group for girls.
Having grown up in Hanover Park, Augusto says the support group is personal to her. She grew up in difficult circumstances and wants to assist girls in similar situations.
“We aim to reinstall Grade 7 girls with their sense of self-worth, self-respect and self-value so that they can become future leaders and inspire fellow learners and their community,” she explains.
She says the importance of education, healthy living, abstinence, appreciation of oneself and making positive life choices are at the core of the support programme.
She says they are doing their bit to try to ensure the girls have a better future.
“We want them to rise above negative circumstances or difficult backgrounds and to prosper, despite the odds that are against them,” she explains.
Girls in Leadership is run as an after-school programme. Motivational talks are held and the girls are sometimes taken on excursions.
Augusto hopes to expand the programme to other areas but she says the lack of resources is a challenge.
She calls on people to pledge their support in any way they can.
The support group is currently working with the second group of Grade 7 girls.
The programme made a big difference in the lives of girls who were part of the first group.
Wyngaardt says the first group, who has since moved on to high school, has shown a positive change in behaviour and an improvement in their academic commitment.
“If we can expand the programme, we can assist and support more girls.
“The programme gives them hope. It helps them realise their potential,” she says.