#TrailblazerImpact shares the stories and journeys of youth in the enke: Trailblazer Program to highlight and celebrate their efforts to lead change in their communities.
Yamkela’s Beauty of Queens: Tackling Girls’ Issues
The enke: Trailblazer Profile: Yamkela Ngubeni is from Durban and attends Umkhumbane Secondary School. She was in Grade 10 when she joined the enke: Trailblazer Program in July 2017.
The issue she’s tackling: Yamkela identified that there are limited platforms at her school that actively focus on the well-being and development of girls. The issues of greatest concern were those relating to girls’ sexual and reproductive health. She noticed that many girls were missing school because they didn’t have sanitary pads, and some learners were resorting to over-medicating themselves with contraceptives in an attempt to control or prohibit their menstrual cycles.
Her Solution: As part of the 9-month enke: Trailblazer Program, high school learners are encouraged and supported to design and lead Community Action Projects (CAPs) to tackle a social issue that they are passionate about. For her CAP, Yamkela started a young women’s empowerment project called Beauty Of Queens.
Through Beauty of Queens, she organises and convenes critical dialogue and support session that focus on issues that affect young women at her school. Her project engages topics that her research and lived experience have shown are necessary and is facilitated with the help of gender activists, health professionals and female teachers from her school. Dialogue sessions have covered sensitive topics such as HIV/AIDS, rape, abuse, marriage, teenage pregnancy and abortion. Beauty of Queens has provided a safe space in which young women can express themselves and take ownership of their sexual, reproductive and emotional health. Realising that some girls couldn’t afford sanitary materials, Yamkela also fundraises for, and collects donations of, sanitary pads to distribute to the girls in her school that cannot afford these essential items.
Project Activities So Far:
- Successfully hosted and addressed 560 girl pupils at her school as an introduction to dialogue and support session.
- Fundraised for the sanitary material of 159 girls who did not afford them.
- 10 Girls were hosted to her leadership development camp modelled after her dialogue and support sessions.
Future: Yamkela intends to continue advocating for the rights and needs of girls at school. She will concern herself with ensuring that the school governing body reviews the expulsion of girls who fall pregnant as a result of rape or similar involuntary circumstances. Much as condoms are freely accessible she will work towards having sanitary materials provided freely too. Otherwise, she will follow through with her sessions and campaigns and thereby address the over-subscription to her young women’s leadership development camps. She views this as a life’s work, hence she endeavors to stay conscious about how to navigate the often complex questions she often comes across therein.
Personal Development: Yamkela has expressed that she was naturally a very shy person and in the past she often censored herself in the presence of strangers. Through the training in the enke: Trailblazer Program and running her project, her confidence has improved drastically as she has to continuously address large crowds through her project. She has developed the skill of using her voice as an instrument for activism. She has built a network of HIV/AIDS Counselors, women who are rape survivors and school teachers. She says that being able to work within and lead a team of 5 women made her realize how much of a leader she truly is.
Definition of enke: Trailblazers – Bold self-starters that set the path ablaze for others
Yamkela is just one of hundreds of young people in the 2017 enke: Trailblazer Program that leading change in their communities. We celebrate her and all the enke: Trailblazers that are doing what they can to change their world!
Through the enke: Trailblazer Program, Grade 10 & 11 learners develop their personal leadership and project skills through an action-based curriculum, hands-on experience and dedicated support to lead social change in their communities. For more information visit www.enke.co.za/programs/Trailblazer