For many of us the new year symbolizes a new start.
I had the great privilege of starting out the new year ticking off a big dream of mine - running an entrepreneur camp for teenage girls through a partnership between Bizzy Girls ( www.bizzygirls.com) and the GCA financial literacy program Imbokodo.
Having been to Camp Sizanani three years ago it was such a pleasure to be reunited with some of my former campers and fellow vochellis and also to meet the new students joining in.
The purpose of Bizzy Girls Camp is to inspire young ladies to start their own business, develop leadership skills, and build self confidence. We empower them to dream big while learning the skills required to become the next generation of female entrepreneurs. Women's empowerment is certainly a hot topic at the moment and the timing couldn't have been more perfect to take this concept abroad!
Sixteen students arrived for the first day of camp shy, curious and unsure what the week would bring. It was truly a gift to watch new friendships form, partnerships grow and business ideas come to life as the week went by. And because all change starts from within, we started off every day with a yoga and meditation program. We shared goal setting exercises and discussed the challenges young women face in their communities. As the workshop progressed we discussed how we can overcome these challenges and support each other's ideas and endeavors.
The girls did a tremendous job making jewelry, launching their own fashion labels and making natural skin care products - the creativity and focus in the classroom was incredible. All their hard work paid off when we finished up our last day of camp with a pop-up store where the girls got to sell their products to the public and keep their earnings.
One of our students, Lerato who launched her own fashion label, shared her camp experience with us:
"I am writing this from South Africa and I am glad to be one of the girls to take part in this camp because it really taught me ways I can make a living and that to be an entrepreneur you need to have partnerships, know how to communicate and also be patient.
I thank all the people who made this camp to be a reality and play a role in many girls lives because it's easy for girls to end up abusing drugs or ending up pregnant at an early age where I am from. This camp really makes us believe in ourselves and to get to know different types of businesses and opportunities and also reminds us that there are people who really love us and support us to dream big. Thank you."
To everyone who donated to make this happen, we thank you. Lerato and her colleagues thank you.
This year also marked the beginning of new company SEED. We look to you, our community partners, to continue your support.