Nonprofit Photography: Girl Pride Africa
Teenage pregnancy, a prevailing issue in many South African communities, often leaves girls stigmatized and without career options. With a mission of helping teenage mothers complete their schooling and find jobs, Lolah Mapotaringa founded Girl Pride Africa, an NGO based in Masiphumelele, a township on the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town. Photographer Sarah Isaacs recently volunteered her time to take portraits of some of the girls that are receiving support from the organization. Below are the results, and the girls’ stories.
– Text by Wantong Liu, images by Sarah Isaacs
“I usually don’t shoot in the morning, because the light is too strong. It is hard to get good pictures at this time.” On our way to Masiphumelele, Sarah expressed concern about the lighting. The ideal timing for portrait photography is in the later afternoon when the sunlight is warm and flattering. But this is not an option. According to Lolah, some of the girls’ husbands are very controlling, and in the afternoon, they come home from work and “want to see the girls at home.” Luckily Sarah managed to find some shady spots.
The excitement on the girls’ faces was obvious when we arrived. When I asked her if she enjoyed having her portrait taken, Neziswa, one of the girls, smiled shyly and said yes. “We have done a shoot before, and they are still talking about it now!” Lolah laughed. She herself also dressed up and put make-up on. “We are really grateful for the shoot, as it really helps boost their confidence.”
Girl Pride Africa: Supporting Teen Moms
Girl Pride Africa needs all the help it can get. In fact, they are so short in funding that Lolah has been supporting the girls from her own pocket – she even sold her car to keep going. “It has been functioning like this for a while; I go to work, make money, and put all the spare money in to help them. What can I do? Some of these girls, they don’t have anything to eat if they leave here and go back home!”
The efforts pay off, as the girls get valuable support from the organization. Girl Pride Africa has a weekly meeting on Saturday, either at Lolah’s home or a daycare center nearby. The girls, most of whom became moms during their teenage years, get the necessary help from Lolah and provide support for each other. After going from being a student to being a mother, their lives have caused financial hardships and psychological stress. Many of them are in abusive relationships. Having a safe place to come to, and to find women to confide in, has been a lifeline.
The bond between the girls is obvious. One by one, they go out with Sarah to have their portraits taken; the rest of them sit together, sing, laugh and made themselves and the kids some breakfast. They chat about life, other relatives and friends, and all the other topics young girls are into. Nobenathi told me she wanted to be a make-up artist. As a matter of fact, she already looked like one, with beautiful self-made nails, and stylish hair.
The Need for Funding
Lolah’s long-term goal is to build a shelter for girls who are most in need, and not in a safe place at home. She already found a suitable location for it. But without the necessary funding, the plan has been on halt.
If you’d like to support Girl Pride Africa, you could do so by
Helping the girls find jobs around Masiphumelele.
Donating baby clothes, milk, or any other goods that a young mother may need.
Offering a cash donation.
Learn more – or make a donation, visit Girl Pride Africa FaceBook page, or email to email@example.com
Or directly to their bank account: Girl Pride Africa First National Bank Account Number: 62790446332
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