Great Girls Changed My Life

Great Girls Changed My Life
Nandi Qubeka and Lumka Liwela

I found out about Great Girls through a colleague of mine. A friend of hers, Great Girls Founder Kristina Miller, was starting a non-profit organization focused on the upskilling and mentoring high school girls. Four years back Kristin reached out to young professional women to assist by getting her passion project off the ground. The outline of Kristin’s vision resonated with me, as I knew many young women who could have benefitted from the program.  

The reality is that most girls from communities lsuch as Lavender Hill and many communities like it will not have the opportunity to pursue tertiary education. The Cape Town based NPO focuses on young women born into difficult socio-economic circumstances, therefore attending under resourced schools and whose future beyond high school is uncertain.

 Through practical workshops and mentoring, Great Girls tutors participants on elements that range from interview techniques, CV writing, financial planning and communication skills. The young women are offered the information, skills and tools to navigate the world outside school by finding meaningful work and pursuing their goals.

During the Fees Must Fall campaign in 2015 I came across an excerpt in an opinion piece which read: “There is virtually no prospect of anyone with just a matric certificate to break the poverty cycle. A matric certificate is not worth the paper it is written on because it does not equip a matriculant with the skills to do a job an employer is willing to pay for”. While there is truth to this statement, this reality does not have to define the prospects of young women in this country.

Watching the participants on the program arrive as precautious girls unsure of the future and leave as young women equipped with the tools to take control of their lives has been rewarding for .  It has also been a learning experience in the practicalities of running a non-profit organization, such as securing donor funding, sound corporate governance and maintaining the passion that lit the initial flame. But perhaps the greatest lesson for me has been that in giving to others, you give to the world.

Watch the Great Girls introductory video below. 

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