Looking after little sisters

AS LIFE nurturers women are known for their selfless acts of giving.

AS LIFE nurturers women are known for their selfless acts of giving.

So when a group of young professionals from Ekurhuleni in Gauteng decided just more than a year ago to join forces and help young girls in need, the results were awesome.

For a year the friends, who have been together since high school, have become "big sisters" to eight little girls whom they identified in their families and community.

Moroesi Simelane, the group's leader, said the idea came during one of their monthly "she talk" sessions, at which they shared ideas and advice on how to uplift themselves as women.

"We've always been looking for something we could do as a group," Simelane explains. "So when one of our friends, a nurse, told us about the big sister initiative we decided to start a similar campaign.

"We identified girls in our families and our community who had potential but could not fulfil it because of circumstances they found themselves in.

"We also identified girls who had gone astray and needed someone to put them back in line.

"We adopted them as our little sisters and have been involved in every aspect of their lives. If for instance they need money for school fees we give it to them."

Simelane, whose friends have to juggle their careers, studies, relationships, marriage and more, says the group wanted to help shape the girls' future by also becoming positive role models for them.

"We wanted them to have someone to look up to, an ordinary person who is within their reach," Simelane says, adding that the experience has been both fulfilling and overpowering.

"Some of the challenges we've encountered have been completely overwhelming and as a result we are working with another organisation to give us training to equip ourselves," she says.

"Knowing that we have made a difference in one person's life means a lot to us.

"We have also realised that it's the little things, like being there for our little sisters when they need to talk, that makes all the difference to them.

"Social responsibility is everyone's problem. One does not need to have loads of money to make a difference in someone's life."

Simelane says they have extended their campaign to matriculants in their community, to help them with career guidance and extra classes.

The initiative has become so big that they decided to officially launch the group last month.

Their aim, Simelane says, is to launch branches throughout the country. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Oprah magazine and Innoxa, through their circle of women campaigners, have assisted the group by providing each of the young girls with everything they need for winter. This includes blankets, school uniforms and winter woolies.

And the big sisters received a hamper of Innoxa's new luxury products.

Samantha Page, editor of O, the Oprah magazine, says the Circle of Women campaign is aimed at harnessing the "collective power of women" to uplift themselves and others in their communities by sharing hope and healing.

"When women join forces, life just seems to get better, which is why we are lauding groups that through their circle of friends, have identified causes to support their communities," Page says.

"O magazine is a fitting platform to celebrate women who are not just talking about giving, but are doing so on a daily basis because living a life of service is core to O."

Tracey Rowles, group brand manager of Innoxa, says 10 percent of profits made from the body- pampering range of products is donated to communities who are working to uplift South African women.

For more information contact Moroesi Simelane at 073-246-6771.