On the 12th of July, the Nelson Mandela Foundation hosted the graduation ceremony for its 2019 Cell C Take A Girl Child To Work Day programme as part of its commitment to play a part in intervening in intergenerational poverty and inequality through the Mandela Initiative, Nelson Mandela International Day, dialogue and research as well as its year-long internship programme.

In the Take A Girl Child To Work Day programme, the girls drafted visionboards, completed the CellCGirl workbook, made CVs, created email addresses for the first time and engaged our directors and staff on how they built their careers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Foundation's motivation to take part in the campaign was to deepen the thinking of the girl child with regards to their infinite roles in society, enhance their self-esteem, inspire and motivate them to reach their full potential through exposure to diverse careers and positive role models to assist them to prepare for the world of higher education and work.

Speakers that took part in the programme included Gerry Elsdon, Clement Maosa, Tshepiso Mabulana and Unathi Nkayi who inspired the girls to not only pursue education as a means of self-actualising and not exclusively as a means of gaining a certificate of skilled labour, but also insisted that in today’s social climate it is important to start pursuing their dreams now, whether they study their passions or not.

“You certainly don’t leave your past behind like a dirty rag, but you certainly don’t carry it with you as though it determines your future,” shared Gerry Elsdon with the girls at the graduation ceremony alongside Tshepiso Mabulana and Clement Maosa.

On reflecting on the programme, one of the girls shared that not only did she not know that what you study need not determine the rest of your professional career, but she also learnt the importance of having multiple passions and sources of income.