Secrets of Sistahood
When asking about Lebo Ramokgopa, you’ll hear about a woman who is passionate about blogging and journaling her personal journey as a mother, daughter, friend and career woman. Her drive to see young women grow and become their best led to a network to empower the girl child.
In July 2011, Kelebogile introduced the Yaya Secrets of Sistahood Network, an initiative aimed at girl empowerment. Her first step saw her appealing to friends who were willing to become mentors and asking them to take on mentees from their communities.
Every year, Lebo adopts a few students and embarks on a journey of mentorship with them until they complete their studies. She has made it a point to take on more young girls from the university where she works due to access and her familiarity with their day-to-day struggles.
Lebo launched a Facebook group that not only offers women the platform to inspire and motivate one another, but it also gives young mentees the opportunity for self-expression and identity development. Furthermore, the group allows for mentors and mentees to network with one another for their personal growth and development.
Outings are organised that focus on teaching the girls the importance of personal grooming and career development. These can take the form of structured or unstructured group or individual discussions. The girls also explore the serious issues and are challenged to find solutions to the social ills they face.
Kelebogile also plans monthly assignments and tasks for the girls to help them address issues they know little about to help broaden their perspective in life. As someone who understands the power and impact of social media on the youth of today, Ramokgopa tries to use all the platforms at her disposal to reach her mentees.
THE GROWTH OF A SISTAHOOD
Kelebogile hopes to develop a strong network of young, successful, employed women between the ages of 25 and 35 who can mentor female scholars or university students between the ages of 16 and 22. The social pressures facing young women today are not all that different from those of previous generations, except that they are magnified by technology. “It’s imperative for every young girl out there to find her voice and use it to build her life,” Ramokgopa emphasises.
Lebo is thankful to her own influential mentors in industry, academia and society. “I feel very fortunate to acknowledge that the time they have dedicated to me has helped make a positive difference in my everyday life and in my decision- making,” she adds.
“When women discover the strength of other voices, coming together and tackling social issues faced by young girls and other women worldwide is always the next big step.” – Lebo Ramokgopa
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