The Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day campaign, which celebrates its 13th anniversary this year, has attracted a record of more than 520 companies and various government departments from around the country who will participate in the event tomorrow (Thursday 28 May).
Utilising the theme “Dream, Believe, Achieve”, Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day targets Grade 10 to 12 South African girl learners, giving them the opportunity to visit a place of work and to experience at first-hand, the “world of work” and the various career opportunities available in the industry and within the public service sectors.
More than 50 000 young people are expected to benefit this year.
Suzette van der Merwe, managing executive of the Cell C Foundation, says: “Anyone can become involved in the programme and make a difference in the life of a young woman – whether by sharing their experience and time or making a cash donation towards a bursary for a girl child.
“Cell C believes that women can be vibrant contributors to the economy and leading job creators for South Africa. By empowering young women to think about the future that they would like for themselves, Cell C believes that this possibility will become a reality.”
Minister in the Presidency responsible for Women, Susan Shabangu, adds: “I believe that Cell C’s initiative to inspire girl learners forms a key in helping empower women in our society. Choosing a career after leaving school is one of life’s major decisions and not everyone is fortunate enough to know what they want to do and be able to vigorously pursue it.
“Many young girls are unable to make up their minds – and that’s where the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day comes in. With strong support from businesses and institutions around the country, this initiative has already been a huge success which has impacted on the lives of many young women.”
The story of one young woman shows just what a difference one day can make.
Mulalo Nekhumbe is an investment banker at Rand Merchant Bank – and she credits her one day work experience courtesy of the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day as a catalyst that changed her life.
Nekhumbe was a Grade 10 pupil in 2004 when she walked through the doors of Johannesburg chartered accountancy firm Ernst and Young in 2004.
“That day cemented what I knew I wanted to become – a chartered accountant. The dream became tangible as I walked through the corridors and offices. Being exposed to the environment gave me a better understanding of what a career as a chartered account would entail and also gave me confidence to plan my path towards becoming a CA,” she says.
She is a firm supporter of the programme: “It was my first exposure to ‘corporate South Africa’. We often take it for granted but there are in fact many young girls who don’t have the awareness or let alone access to some of the corporates in this country and the opportunities that are available to them within these corporates. Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day affords any girl child from any walk of life to experience first-hand the culture and people of an organisation that is linked to what they associate themselves with. This one day has the potential of creating, turning or directing the course of a young girl’s life. I am living proof of that.”
Since its launch in 2002, more than 2 300 companies and government departments have participated in the award-winning initiative; and more than 700 000 girl learners have been exposed to career and job opportunities.
* Companies can host a group of girls on the day by registering online on www.cellc.co.za/girlchild.