Drive to Empower Young Women

Substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and poverty were some of the challenges that were raised by young women, both in and out of school during Dialogues for Young Women held at Ngcobo in the Chris Hani District.

The main objective of the dialogue was to empower young women on scarce careers, to educate women on maturity issues and to engage them on issues that affect them. The dialogue allowed free flow of ideas and airing of frustrations.

Sisipho Mthethwa from Dalasile Secondary School mentioned alcohol and substance abuse as most common challenge that lead to illiteracy and poverty. “We have 15 year olds who end on the street because of substance abuse. The government must do proper intervention programmes so as to equip us on our daily challenges that we face as young women,” she said.

Amongst guest speakers was home girl Bongiwe Mnyande, Ngcobo born graduate who currently co-owns a recruitment agency in Johannesburg. Mnyande donated sanitary towels to these young women and also gave some motivation talk, urging them to put education on top of their priority list. She said after the dialogues the young women will need mentorship and guidance on a number of issues that they have encountered. “The more confident they are about themselves, the more these young people will be able to deal with obstacles. I also want to encourage you to be exposed to the thinking of a woman who has excelled in her field, in this manner you can be inspired to aspire your own dreams,” she said.

Social Development and Special Programmes’ Women Development Senior Manager Nobubele Volsak who highlighted gloomy literacy levels in Ngcobo, which reflect that 59% of young people aged between 20 and 25 are unemployed. “Our department has observed that there is a need for an integrated service delivery amongst government departments and other role players that deal with women issues. Although we as Social Development and Special Programmes have existing programmes that attempt to respond to the needs of women, we have also noticed that there is an increasing number of teenage pregnancies and school drop outs which lead to unemployment and poverty,” she said.

At the end of the dialogue, the participants were given an opportunity to network and share experiences with invited entrepreneurs in the field of engineering. “I had a chance to interact with these successful ladies and I have learnt a lot from them and they have inspired me a lot, said Noluthando Dlama from Nyanga Secondary School.

Issued by: Eastern Cape Social Development

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