The Fonty proverb wisely states, “Educate a woman and you educate a nation.” This timeless African wisdom emphasises the significance of female education and empowerment in the progress of societies as a whole.
In 2022, a transformative initiative called the Empowering Girls Children’s Programme was launched through a partnership with Old Mutual Insure, Afrika Tikkun, and Ikusasa. The programme aims to establish a sustainable, inclusive, and diverse talent pipeline for the insurance industry. However, an unexpected revelation emerged during the programme’s implementation: the critical importance of mental fitness or mental health.
Recognising the challenges faced by today’s youth, the programme incorporated a mental fitness component, providing access to qualified lifeline counselors who support participants in addressing underlying issues. This comprehensive approach seeks to empower and uplift young individuals who have faced adversity, enabling them to overcome challenges and realise their true potential.
Globally, nearly one in four girls aged 15 to 19 lacks access to education or vocational training, compared to one in ten boys of the same age group. By 2025, approximately 435 million women and girls will be living on less than ZAR26 to ZAR15 a day, with an additional 47 million are being pushed into poverty due to the impact of COVID-19. This dire situation often leaves young individuals feeling trapped in a never-ending cycle of uncertainty, with high expectations and fears of failure. The Empowering Girls Programme recognises the multifaceted challenges faced by these individuals, addressing not only their educational needs but also their mental well-being, self-confidence, and future prospects.
The programme’s limited capacity to accommodate only 20 learners per year highlights the overwhelming demand from young individuals seeking opportunities for growth and empowerment. Corporates have a crucial role to play in investing in such programmes to positively impact communities, contribute to social development, and address the pressing social challenges faced by South African youth. By sponsoring youth programmes like Empowering Girls, corporates can help identify and nurture hidden talent, offering mentorships, training opportunities, and ultimately creating a talent pipeline for their own organisations. This strategic investment not only aligns with corporate social responsibility but also fosters economic growth, innovation, and overall societal development.
The selection process for the Empowering Girls Programme is straightforward yet effective. The programme is introduced to life orientation classes, where the goals are sensitised about the programme’s purpose and benefits. The application process involves answering three simple questions: the current challenges they face, one thing they would change, and how the programme would benefit them. Additionally, applicants have the opportunity to submit a video. The programme’s recruitment selection process includes a panel of judges from Afrika Tikkun, Tranquil Antonacious Minds, and Ikusasa, ensuring a fair and comprehensive assessment of the candidates. This rigorous selection process ensures that the programme reaches those who are committed to making a positive change in their lives and are eager to pursue personal growth and transformation.
The founder and director of Tranquil Antonacious Minds, a certified neuro-linguistic practitioner, executive businesswoman, and life coach, brings more than three decades of experience in various service industries to the programme. With a deep passion for empowering young females, she draws inspiration from her own humble beginnings and the challenges she has overcome.
Her mission is to provide individuals with the tools to live authentically, achieve their highest potential, and make a positive impact on the world. By investing in young females, she aims to create a sustainable future where each person’s unique talents are celebrated and utilised for the betterment of society.
The Empowering Girls Programme offers participants knowledge and skills that will last a lifetime. The programme fosters a sense of belonging, reducing feelings of isolation and empowering participants to collaborate, share experiences, and support one another.
By emphasising self-confidence, resilience, and authentic leadership, the programme develops participants’ leadership capabilities, equipping them for future educational and employment opportunities. The programme also offers ICT CETA- SETA accredited certification, providing the participants with a competitive edge and advanced skills compared to their peers.
Moreover, the knowledge gained during the programme has motivated some participants to share these tools with others in need, creating a ripple effect of empowerment and positive change. The Empowering Girls Child Programme the flagship brainchild of Old Mutual Insure demonstrates the transformative power of education, mentorship, and mental fitness in uplifting and empowering young girls. Through the support of corporates and their commitment to investing in youth programmes a sustainable talent pipeline is established, benefiting both the individuals and the broader society.
By fostering economic growth, enhancing their own reputation, and contributing to the development of future leaders, corporations can play a pivotal role in creating a brighter and more equitable future for South Africa.
Ultimately, by empowering young females through education and vocational training, we not only uplift individuals but also stimulate economic growth and pave the way for a prosperous and sustainable society.