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Girl Impact: Sonwabile

Girl Impact Khayelitsha: An NGO Photography Project

Penda intern Regina Muller joins photographer Sarah Isaacs as she captures a female empowerment project

For as long as I can remember – since childhood days of growing up with three older brothers and seeing how much more potential the world saw in them than myself – I have been a fired-up feminist. That is why I was particularly honored to visit Girl Impact Khayelitsha with professional photographer and local Cape Townian Sarah Isaacs, who volunteered her time to capture this great initiative.

Girl Impact Khayelitsha, an after-school program in one of Cape Town’s townships, is a collaboration between NGO the Happy Africa Foundation and local community members in Khayelitsha. The goal of the program is to inspire young girls at a critical age, and remind them that they are strong, capable, and deserving of equal treatment to their male peers. The program focuses on six main topics; education, health, early pregnancy, safety, making a living and self-confidence. Twice a week after school, children are invited to play team-building games, practice English, and bolster their self-confidence while learning about living healthy, safe and happy lives.

This tightly-knit community program was impressive to witness. The children were excited and happy to be there, willing and ready to learn and grow. They loved hearing my American accent repeat the Xhosa they spoke to me, which made me feel warm and welcome. One of the activities that day was sharing dream journals the children made the week before. One of the girls stood up and said she wanted to be a police officer, so she can protect her family and neighbors. I felt so happy and proud that she has such large dreams and a kind heart.

Sarah Isaacs took portraits of all the children who attended Girl Impact Khayelitsha the day we visited; portraits focused on the girls’ confidence. When they got in front of the camera, the girls transformed into professionally trained models. All of these photos will be printed and given to the girls as a reminder to follow their dreams – and rule the world.

For more information on – or to donate to – the Girl Impact project, have a look here. If you like her work, take on another Girl Impact journey with Sarah Isaacs to Fikelela or Buyelekhaya.

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