On Wednesday night I flew to South Africa with ONE campaign. ONE are an international charity focusing on ending extreme poverty and you may have heard me mention their Poverty Is Sexist campaign before. They invited me to go and visit some projects and learn more about the issues effecting women and girls there and as you guys know I work very closely with The Global Goals and started Time For Girls at the beginning of this year, so I quickly accepted the opportunity. If you haven’t seen my video talking about it and you’re unsure of what it’s about, Time For Girls is about building a community of people who are willing to take action towards helping improve the lives of girls and women around the world and the reason why we are focusing on girls and women in particular right now is because with all the research Global Goals and ONE have done, they’ve found that if girls in poverty are given a chance to stay in school, get access to health services and delay early marriage and childbirth – not only do they benefit – but so do their children, families, communities and countries. ONE are a charity that really focus on giving people a voice, they believe that through coming together and therefore making a louder voice makes the right people listen, the people who can really make a difference. This trip with ONE has been life changing, it has been amazing to meet so many incredible people and hear their stories and now I can share the experience with you guys and raise awareness as knowledge really is power.
When we arrived on Thursday we visited the Kliptown Youth Programme which is located in a Township in Soweto. The programme is run by Thulani, and I can truly say he is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. Thulani was born on the Township and set up the centre in 2007. KYP provide a nurturing environment for young children and adults where they are given food, access to computers and education. I spoke to lots of girls about their hopes and dreams for the future and their experiences growing up going to KYP. Some of them hope to be teachers, lawyers or open their own youth programs just like KYP
The next day we drove to the City of Tschwane and visited one of 900 RISE clubs. The RISE Club is a supportive centre focusing on the empowerment of young women and teaches life skills to girls within the community. It also functions as a tool to bring the girls together and raise each other up. RISE also facilitates linkages to career development, financial literacy and vocational acceleration programmes. RISE helps the girls to fulfil their goals and avoid becoming victims of gender based violence. After a group discussion, some of the girls walked us around the area and talked to us about their experiences and challenges in life such as becoming infected with HIV or not being able to afford to go to school.
In the afternoon we visited Gender Links which runs an Entrepreneurship Program. We spoke to Anne who works there and she told us about how Gender Links operate and how that through the program they offer girls business skills and teach them how to have independent economic stability. Many of the girls who have worked with Gender Links now operate their own businesses.
On the final day we went back to KYP and I was able to have some one on one time with Zine, she walked me through the Township and was kind enough to invite me in to her home which she shared with her Father, brothers and sisters. It was really inspiring to hear about her ambitions and see how much she valued projects like KYP and the great things it does in her community.
I’ve had such an amazing time getting to know such wonderful people and I thank ONE so much for inviting me on the trip and it’s been a pleasure getting to know the team and the incredible work they do. The trip was truly life-changing for me and a really emotional few days.
I would love you guys to sign the Global Fund petition to help get as much funding as possible to help with the amazing programs I visited on this trip: https://www.one.org/us/take-action/global-fund/