Last week the world celebrated the International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October, and Thuto Lesedi Secondary school in Vosloorus hosted a Girl Talk Session as part of honouring the day.

What is International Day of Girl child?

International Day of the Girl Child started in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly and marked 11th October as the day to celebrate girl children. The aim is to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls all around the world face, while promoting girl empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

In South Africa the Girl Talk session was established in 2016 by members who graduated from the Columba Leadership Academy.

Columba Leadership Academy was founded in 2009 in close association with the Department of Education, they run dynamic leadership programmes at schools located in economically disadvantaged areas in six provinces around the country. The aim of the programme is to teach values based leadership and support communities to improve schools and the community at large.

What is the aim of these sessions?

The school started these sessions to help young girls with the challenges they face as they grow up and addressed issues such as cyber bullying as well as issues that lead to body shaming at schools.

“Women in our society are always victimized in all areas, from work spaces, within communities or even in relationships. I think it’s always good to prepare young girls for the world and its challenges. These girls talk sessions equip them with essential life skills such as personal hygiene, career tips and how to see one another as a support structure,” stated Thabo Ndlovu, school engagement officer at Columba Leadership.

The session was attended by over 100 girls with community members from around Vosloorus who were able to pass on words of encouragement.

“These Girl Talk sessions assist most learners to speak comfortably about social issues that they didn’t manage to speak about with anyone. This also assist with building trust within the learners and teachers. We refer them to the life orientation department, then if they see that the problem is too deep they refer them to professional help (social workers),” noted Ms Ntuli an educator.

“One thing that stood out for me was when the guests advised us to see ourselves within one another, if we stand together and support one another as girls, we will be strong and powerful,” conclude  Grade 11 learner from Thuto Lesedi.

It is such a great thing to see that the community is taking initiative in helping out a girl children, as the country is going through a hard time as in the rise of gender based violence.

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