Empowering teenage girls through sport

Potlako Lebese (13) of Mamelodi High School in Pretoria shares about her experience at the Goal programme run by Standard Chartered, during the Beyond Global Girls Education Summit in Sandton on 18 July. Photo: Supplied

The Maslow Hotel was alive with discussion as Standard Chartered hosted the Beyond Global Girls’ Education Summit addressing the need to unleash the economic potential of underprivileged adolescent girls across the world.

The summit discussed the company’s Goal programme, which has reached 285 000 girls worldwide from disadvantaged backgrounds, empowering them through a combination of sport and life skills training. The programme was launched in Pretoria in 2015 and aims to reach 1 700 girls by the end of this year.

“While there are many programmes addressing women empowerment, there are not enough targeting young girls. It is so important to be reaching out at a foundational stage of life,” said Geraldine Matchaba, head of corporate affairs, brand and marketing at Standard Chartered.

During the summit, the company announced their plan to expand to Johannesburg next year. Matchaba said the main aim of the summit was to look for support from other stakeholders in the public and private sector to expand the programme. Teenage representatives from 10 countries also attended the conference, sharing what they had learned through the Goal programme.

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The 9 to 12-month programme in South Africa connects with the non-profit organisation Altus Sport and delivers a programme teaching teenage girls about their rights, how to be money savvy, how to care for their sexual and reproductive health and how to communicate effectively.

Matchaba said many of the girls came from situations where they were being abused or exploited and the programme enabled them to have the confidence to speak out.

“Sport functions as a microcosm of life, where girls learn team work and humility. They are taught about their rights and given the confidence and tools to make it in life,” added Matchaba.

Potlako Lebese (13) of Mamelodi High School in Pretoria, expressed her gratitude for the programme which had given her the confidence to address attendees at the summit and even appear on TV. “I used to watch the girls play netball at school, but never had the confidence to join because of problems at home. The teacher then encouraged me to join and I enjoyed playing and gained confidence,” said Potlako.

Director of Altus Sport, Liana Laubscher said, “Our main objective is to get girl youth leaders upgraded for employment… It’s amazing to see their self-confidence improve from nothing and so rewarding to see girls standing up for themselves.”

To find out more about Goal, visit their website on www.goalprogramme.org


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Sarah Koning

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