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The seeds for Mariswe’s NURTURE A GIRL initiative were sown in 2017 out of CEO Nonkulukelo Sindane’s passion to support teenage girls in a society where young women have little voice, live with abuse and violence, and struggle to find their way into fulfilling careers.

NURTURE A GIRL’s slogan is “Change a life” and that’s what the initiative has been doing for the past year and a half. Mariswe initially sponsored 50 female learners from Grades 8 to 12 at three secondary schools in Cape Town, Pretoria and King Williams Town and a special needs school in Tembisa. Each of the beneficiaries receives monthly personal hygiene kits and exposure to life skills and career opportunities through workshops and courses, career advice and counselling.

Mariswe has extended an invitation to other corporates and individuals to come on board and help expand the programme. Staff at the firm are sponsoring some of the girls in their individual capacities.

The initiative has swelled to well over 70 beneficiaries at times but several of the learners matriculated in 2018, leaving gaps for others to come on board depending on sponsorship support.

The initiative is planned one year at a time, but is expected to continue for at least five years in alignment with the firm’s five-year strategy.

We are confident that our candidates are completing their schooling with essential skills they need to enter the “real world” and build their futures successfully. Our aim is to give them the optimism and confidence to achieve their goals and dreams.

Several programmes and activities were arranged as part of the initiative in 2018. Learners completed two-day SANCA Peer Education and Training Courses on substance abuse and were given the opportunity to attend depression and anxiety workshops.

All the schools received book donations and Mariswe has partnered with the Schools Reading Roadshow Team to introduce the NURTURE A GIRL learners to the work of local authors. Stationery donations kept the beneficiaries kitted out with the essentials for the year and Mariswe staff got the girls involved in planting fruit trees at their schools on Arbour Day.

Beneficiaries were invited to join Mariswe’s annual CESA Job Shadow Days and various classes including computer skills, arts and crafts, cooking and knitting were offered to the learners over the year.

In 2019 we hope to expand the programmes offered to our beneficiaries and particular focus will be placed on support with maths, which is currently a challenge.