“When the club started, we were asked to identify women in the community who inspire us; we chose Emily and Ida who have constantly motivated and supported us with our challenges as young girls,” 12-year-old Salilanji Madigadi shares.
“These girls are like our own children. We encourage them every day to strive to be better members of this community, to be better than us so that one day they can contribute towards its development,” Emily explains.
Although very young, the girls continue to demonstrate reformed mindsets. They advocate and share HIV prevention messages with their peers and parents based on the education they receive in their clubs. Driven by this, their parents have adopted positive parenting behaviors and positive gender norms.
“I was just living life and waiting to get married. But now I know better, I know how to protect myself and not to allow any man to cheat me out of being a successful nurse in the near future,”
shares 14-year-old club member Risita Tchale.
Risita’s inspired vision has also stemmed from lessons given to the girls on how they can achieve their dreams, and participate in positive roles within their community. These types of sessions are given to the girls to ensure that they are independent and self-reliant individuals.
To enable this, support from parents and caregivers has been an essential component however for most girls their family’s vulnerability has hindered this. In response to this reality, One Community has set up village savings and loans groups for parents and caregivers of the club members who were aged 10-14 years.
“I wanted to join the club because I was moved by the idea of me being assisted to achieve my dream of being a policewoman. However, my mother could not afford to support me with the school materials and funds required for me to return to school,” states ten-year-old Martha Layisani, who is a member of the club who had dropped out of school in 2014 due to lack of funds. “However, as soon as I became a member of the club, my mother was placed into a VSL group where she was able to take a loan and start her donut-making business. From the generated profits, I was able to go back to school.”
As of April 2018, all girls have returned to school. One Community is continuing to offer mentorship and support to these girls with the hopes of creating platforms that will propel them further along their dreams of becoming admirable members of their community.