Mentorship and leadership development
The Thope Foundation mentorship and leadership development program enables young girls to form caring relationships with women who are willing to listen, offer support, bounce ideas off and provide advice to young girls who often do not have a caring adult in their lives. Thope mentor-tutors are university students and professionals who are trained and equipped with the skills to hold a caring space for girls while delivering core programs in a pro-girl child manner. Program mentors are inspired women from Khayelitsha who are role models and committed to paying it forward in their communities.
Mentors facilitate a safe space in which girls can test boundaries, learn personal and community leadership skills, building caring and loving relationship and explore building healthy and mutually respectful relationships. Girls receive one-on-one career mentoring with university students and professionals. Our programs are designed in such a way that girls and mentors are provided with several opportunities to create and lead projects that develop their leadership capabilities. Program successes include the development of an annual educational magazine titled: “Queens of Tomorrow”.
Thope supports Grade 6, 7 and 8 girls with maths, science and english tutoring on a weekly basis. Blended learning environments are used to deliver parts of the tutoring program, thus, serving a dual purpose of introducing girls to vital computer skills and delivering the curriculum. The tutoring program uses small group learning environments to foster peer learning and tutoring support. We facilitate exit opportunities through linking girls with bursaries to good schools, placements in well performing schools and providing on-going support for girls once they exit the program.
Access to opportunity
Thope uses computer-based learning environments to expose disadvantaged girls to information and educational opportunities. Opportunities include, visits to Cape Town International Airport for educational walk-abouts, educational tours and skills development programs during the school holidays. We use the power of the internet to bring information closer to the girls. Girls learn about emailing, Facebook, blogging, conceptualizing and compiling educational magazines, Google Apps and WordPress. As part of the 2014 Youth Month, five of the Thope girls were guest contributors to the prestigious online platform Bokamoso Leadership Forum (www.bokamosoafrica.org) on the theme of education and development in South Africa.
The life skills program is a series of tailored responses to some of the challenges facing young girls. The aim is to empower girls through education and creating awareness so that girls can explore topical issues in a factual and informed manner. Life skills sessions cover a range of topics related to sexual reproductive health education, human rights, gender, career guidance, child protection, hygiene and social skills which enable girls to build meaningful and caring relationships with peers and adults in their lives. These sessions are delivered in an experiential learning format with young girls actively participating in the development, delivery and evaluation of the sessions.
Our Mama-mentors program aims to support young girls identify women in their lives who can be supported to be mediators, violence interrupters and mentors to girls so that support networks are extended into the home and community. Mama-mentors are provided with tools, resources and training so they can support girls navigate the challenges of life and coming of age. This program targets Grade 7 girls in particular, as they are transitioning from primary school to high school. Research has shown that many young girls are most likely to drop out of school, engage in love and sexual relationships and therefore increase the likelihood of teenage pregnancy during this time. By intervening and supporting girls during this transitional period in their lives, we mitigate some of the pressures and conflicts associated with adolescences so that girls can embrace the joys of young womanhood in a healthy and supported environment.