While various organisations celebrated International Women’s Day on Thursday March 8, by tackling some of the issues which women face, NGO Boxing Girls commemorated the day by empowering young girls with life skills.
Youth Lifestyle Centre (YLC), Laureus Sport For Good and Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) were some of the stakeholders that were part of the event held at Harare in Khayelitsha.
The primary school girls were urged to live a healthy lifestyle and always surround themselves with good role models. But most importantly, they were urged to make wise life choices.
However, the core aim of the event was to teach them that they needed to be independent and voice their opinions and views without any fear. The girls were reminded that they too had the ability and talent to create a better future for themselves and their families.
Boxing Girls representative, Nwabisa Qalanto, said the organisation aimed to create a “sisterhood” and a safe space where girls could feel free to talk openly about issues facing them. She said they had discovered that in many cases girls were afraid to talk about some of their traumatic life experiences
Ms Qalanto said the key message conveyed at the event was that girls should respect their bodies and treat it with dignity.
She described peer pressure and sexual abuse as some of the main challenges facing young girls in townships and said the aim of the organisation was to equip girls with self defence skills.
They also assist girls with tuition in maths and English. When the organisation was started 10 years ago, said Ms Qalanto, it worked with 20 primary schools but due to financial constraints they were now working with only four schools. “We want girls to have a voice. We want these young girls to believe in themselves. We need to educate them so that they do not find themselves making decisions that would jeopardise their future.
“We need to boost their confidence. Girls should never feel inferior or less important,” she said.
YLC facililator, Lucia Mfubu, said as an organisation that worked with the youth, they felt obliged to be part of the event.
Ms Mfubu said girls were vulnerable and through the event, they hoped to encourage girls to raise their voices.
She said in many cases young people were not given a platform to talk freely without being judged and hoped the event would present them with the opportunity to speak their minds.
Osizwe Mgxebe, who is part of the organisation, said she had learnt a lot from the event.
The 11-year-old pupil at Luleka Primary School said they were told that school, sport and home were the safest spaces for young girls.
Laureus Sport For Good organisation grantee manager, Jill Joy Benting, said they supported the work done by Boxing Girls and that it was important for girls to have a good foundation.