The Unconventional Woman is an outreach program that my friend (Wandi Jama) and I have started. We speak to young girls from underprivileged schools about sensitive topics and also offer advice on careers, self-image, goals and health.
We also educate the girls on being unconventional in a society that demands for girls to be conventional. We explain that the unconventional woman/girl is brave and is willing to be unique and different than her peers. She is a lover of knowledge, not only knowledge that can be gained from books, but also knowledge that is passed down to her by others, such as teachers and parents. The unconventional woman/girl is willing to break norms and rules to strive to be better than herself and her surroundings. Without a doubt this woman/girl is always willing to give back to others.
We make it clear to the girls that the unconventional woman/girl is not in a select few but is in every girl and woman, who is willing to be unconventional.
The school we picked for our girls talk/outreach program was Nozala Intermediate School. The school is located in Bloemfontein, in a township called Phahameng. The school is a co-educational school with grades 1-7 with a total number of 700 students.
The principle granted us the opportunity to talk to all the grade 7 girls. The response we received was amazing. They asked questions, told us about their fears, dreams and revealed some of their darkest secrets. With all that being said, there was also a lot of laughter and jokes that was shared amongst the girls with us.
It was such a remarkable experience to see the girls open up to us and allow us to share our knowledge and experiences. After the talk we enjoyed some cupcakes and juice with the girls. They continued to ask more questions and asked if we could come back, as they had really appreciated having some 'girl' time.
I know cupcakes and juice is not the healthiest food option, but I especially spoke to the girls about healthy eating. I explained to them that healthy eating is a lifestyle choice. It does not mean that they should cut out foods they love but they should enjoy them in moderation.
I further explained that healthy eating is not only for people who are trying to lose weight but it is a great way to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. Healthy eating is especially important at their age since their bodies are going through puberty. They will need certain vitamins and minerals such as iron that is found in healthy foods.
One of the most exciting and happiest moments was when we heard that one of the girls had told her teacher that she would be going to university no matter what. "I feel motivated and excited about my future." said Lerato Phoso.
Giving back to others does not need loads of money, it just needs your time. I really encourage all women and girls to make a difference in one girl or woman's life this women's month #woman power.
I would like to thank Nozala Intermediate School for the warm welcome we received. Thank you to all the staff members for their support and allowing us to take class time away from the girls. I would also like to thank all the fierce young ladies who were present at the talk, we really appreciate your time and cooperation.
PS: Give and love as much as you can.
To see more pictures click on the picture below.