Girls get glimpse of future

More than 50000 girls from across the country are once again expected to show up at the workplace next Thursday as part of Cell C's take a girl child to work day initiative.

More than 50000 girls from across the country are once again expected to show up at the workplace next Thursday as part of Cell C's take a girl child to work day initiative.

The initiative was launched seven years ago to give high school girl children the opportunity to experience the world of work first-hand so that they can make informed decisions about their career paths.

Zaza Motha, 25, one of the first girls to participate in the programme, says the initiative is necessary to help young girls make the right career choices.

She says her participation in the programme reaffirmed her dream to become a journalist.

"I've always been a big dreamer," she says.

Motha says spending the day with Zeona Jacobs, who was then a managing director of an advertising agency, made her realise that "women can be whatever they want to if they dream big".

Motha says: "She not only encouraged me to live my dream, but persuaded me that I could set even higher goals for myself. I was also inspired by her decision-making powers. Seeing a woman in that position made me proud."

Jacobs is now chief corporate officer of Cell C.

Motha, now a qualified journalist, says the initiative opened doors of opportunity for her.

"While I was studying at TUT Tshwane University of Technology I was a straight-A student because I loved what I was doing and was highly motivated. As a result I was chosen to study in the Netherlands as part of an exchange programme," says Motha, who now works as a freelance journalist.

Mercia Maserumule, Cell C's corporate social investment manager, says under the theme "Change your world" participating girls will be taken to corporate offices, government departments, factories, hospitals, hotels, institutions of higher learning, radio and television stations and construction sites.

"Through the support we are getting from our partners the girls will have access to information and gain experience that will not only be inspiring but will also allow them to make empowered choices that will change their future and their world for the better," Maserumule says.

She says more than 200 individuals holding influential positions will be hosting the girls .

These include Lerato Phalatsi, a legal adviser to President Jacob Zuma, Nicky Newton-King, deputy chief executive at JSE Securities Exchange, Khensani Nkosi, director of Stoned Cherrie, SABC3 talk show host Noelene Maholwana-Sangqu and Sally Downie, a partner at Deloitte Consulting.

Maserumule says the company has extended the campaign beyond one day by introducing a career-choice expo for both girl and boy children.

She says the expo, which starts in August, is aimed at Grade 9 to 12 pupils from schools in rural communities.

The pupils, she says, will interact with various companies and organisations as a way of exposing them to different career options.

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