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Ambassadors Dolly Mokgatle, Basetsana Kumalo and Leanne Manas explain why the initiative has changes the lives of thousands and why they are serving this year as mentors.

The Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day® campaign will take place around the country on Thursday, 26 May. The campaign this year has appointed three of the country’s foremost leaders in business and media – Basetsana Kumalo, Dolly Mokgatle and Leanne Manas – as ambassadors and mentors.

Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day® (TAGCTWD) is targeted at Grade 10 to 12 South African girl learners and gives them the opportunity to visit a place of work and to experience the various career opportunities available to them. Thousands of young people will take part this year with hundreds of companies around the country opening their doors to them.This year’s ambassadors, all examples of excellence in their field, are leaders in the corporate world and media.

Dolly Mokgatle is Executive director at Peotona Holdings, was CEO of Spoornet and, before that, was the first black woman to become Managing Director of the Transmission Group in Eskom. Leanne Manas, a TV presenter, radio host and MC is recognised as a leader on the South African media circuit. Basetsana Kumalo is a South African television personality, beauty pageant titleholder (she won the Miss South Africa title in 1994), businesswoman (she also sits on several boards), and philanthropist.

As ambassadors and promoters for the 2016 Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day campaign, these women have availed themselves to each mentor one girl, who has participated in this years’ campaign, for three months.

Mokgatle believes that mentorship is a long-term investment: “When we identify and nurture talent, we have sustainable results in the long term. This is the reason why I have chosen to spend the time on one young woman. This is not an overnight game, but a process that needs depth, time and patience to be effective.”

It’s a philosophy that all three of this year’s ambassadors for the TAGCTO share. They believe that being supportive to young women who have already begun their own journey, by exposing them to the workplace, is crucial.

Kumalo said: “Young women need to know what is available to them, that their dreams can be as big as they want them to be. Only by letting them experience what actually happens in companies, corporations, creative fields, and in the media can they get a sense of what is possible for them – what they can achieve.”

The women acknowledge that historically, girls and young women have less confidence and self-esteem.

Mokgatle says: “That is why the TAGCTWD project is such an excellent way to let young women see other young women at work. It’s a boost to their confidence and also a step towards their personal development. Also, it’s important to help young people work through the emotions that cut deep within themselves and heal. We need to help them see stereotypes used to define women, to help them realise their own self-worth in spite of their personal background. They need to see that anything is possible, that hard work and commitment create opportunity to achieve success. And, they have to see that this is gender neutral.”

The Cell C TAGCTW day fits all of those criteria, she added.

She believes that the Cell C initiative “strives to instill confidence in young girls and give them exposure to the wider world. Through this, we hope to be a catalyst for ambition and future success.”

She also says young people should be encouraged to “broaden their horizons by encouraging them to seek information about key figures of influence and unsung heroes that shape our society. It is by learning about the journeys of others that we find our own inspiration.”

Today’s world of technology, she adds, empowers (especially) the young, to explore and find empowerment through information and knowledge. “The increased ability to share information with their own peers, adds to the body of knowledge. These need to be optimised to widen their scope.”

Manas believes that young women need to have a real understanding of the demanding world of work: “Striving for excellence, doing more than needed, ensures that you put down strong roots in the work arena. Working hard and enjoying what you do helps you achieve that excellence. Exposure to the world of work, as TAGCTW Day does, is a giant step towards an understanding of that.”

These three role models will show the young women they are taking under their wing what career opportunities are available to them as entrepreneurs.
In so doing, they will change lives.

Registration for the 2016 Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day is now open and you are encouraged to register your company’s participation at before 18 May 2016.

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