UNITED Through Sport recently launched a brand-new programme, GirlsUnite, at Astra Primary School in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to empower young girls from the community.
The focus of GirlsUnite is to help girls cope with some of the challenges they face through structured Self-defence, Literacy and Counselling sessions. The girls’ empowerment programme is for girls aged 10 to 13 years old, from Bethelsdorp and surrounding areas.
“While we are piloting the programme at Astra Primary School, we hope to extend the programme in the years to come, as this has been identified as an important need in the areas where we work,” said United Through Sport Director Nick Mould.
United Through Sport currently runs a Junior School of Excellence (JSE) Programme for primary school children to receive extra academic support, further sports development and mentoring. The JSE programme is based at Astra Primary School in Bethelsdorp and Isaac Booi Primary School in Zwide.
United Through Sport’s JSE Programme offers an environment of safety and positivity and a beacon of hope for many young children growing up in the surrounding community. As an added investment into the girls from the school and surrounding community, United Through Sport launched the girls’ empowerment programme GirlsUnite.
Because of their socio-economic environment, many of the girls in the JSE programme have challenges preventing them from attending afternoon classes, and learning at school, including physiological (reproductive needs), safety at home and on the way to school, as well as personal needs related to self-esteem and self-actualisation.
The GirlsUnite Programme is a one-year project, made possible by EMpower’s Bright Promise Awards, from the Estee Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation. Nelson Mandela University’s Psychology Clinic, which is based at the Missionvale campus, is partnering with United Through Sport by offering counselling services for the GirlsUnite Programme.
Counselling and group sessions have started at Astra Primary in the school’s library room as well as a converted container, which was donated by Siyaloba Training Academy. When the container is not used for counselling, it functions as a “girls-only” space used for extra reading sessions and informal mentoring sessions. Other than girls from Astra Primary School, girls from the surrounding community will also make use of the girls-only space and drop-in counselling services.