Teenage girls have lit a candle of hope in a drive to unite with their peers in Nompumelelo township in East London.
Girls of Hope, a project driven by 17-year-old student and entrepreneur Mbali Feliti, has already linked up with other teen girls who are working hard to get going in life.
Girls of Hope, made up of 17 teenage girls, has approached 17 families in “Gqobas”, as the township is nicknamed.
The young women launched their organisation in Nompumelelo over the weekend, with each one of them committing to support one of the Nompumelo families.
They have committed over the next five years to uplift the girls in these families who are aged 16 to 18, by sourcing bursaries, internships, scholarships, sport equipment, stationery and books.
Girls for Hope teens are Mbali’s friends from local schools in East London and her church at the Downtown Christian Centre in the CBD. She said that after identifying the 17 families, they were approached and agreed to become part of the five-year project.
The girls want to help the girls in these families by providing school uniforms, toys, toiletries, food, clothes and even tutoring them.
“Although there are still challenges such as being able to get enough donations and finding sponsors, to do good things doesn’t only need money.
“Working together, sharing whatever little you have with someone who has less can make a difference to both lives,” she says.
She grew up in a household that works closely with people in need.
Her mother, Nobesuthu Gongo Feliti, worked helping people living with HIV and tuberculosis at the provincial health department for about 17 years.
Nobesuthu said she felt great about her daughter starting such a project when she was so young. “Mbali has always been a giving person from a young age. She was the only girl in the house and when she was young suffered from a chronic disease.
“This is what influenced Mbali in wanting to interact with others and carve her own path.”
Grade 11 students Onawa Busoni, Sikhonathi Ggese and Thando Madikiza are some of Girls for Hope activists. Thando said: “With this project, I hope to leave a legacy, an imprint on peoples’ lives.”
The launch was attended by 100 members and saw the Girls of Hope performing a joyful dance to celebrate their launch and the unity of families, followed by prayers. Donations of bread, clothes, toys and books were handed out to the families.
The day ended with the Girls of Hope holding lit candles to symbolise hope for the families and a final closing prayer.
Anyone inspired to help the project can call Mbali on 081-041-2770 or e-mail them on Nobesuthu.firstname.lastname@example.org