“I think we are the most powerful beings in the world and that we should be given every opportunity. That is what we should be teaching young girls – to take up space. Nothing is as important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself.” – Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019
Since 2012, 11 October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl Child. This excerpt from the South African government website sums up its purpose:
“On December 19, 2011, the United Nations declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.”
“The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.”
“Adolescent girls have the right to a safe, educated, and healthy life, not only during these critical formative years, but also as they mature into women. If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders. An investment in realising the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future, one in which half of humanity is an equal partner in solving the problems of climate change, political conflict, economic growth, disease prevention, and global sustainability.”
This is not news to most of us; it is widely known that girls globally have the very worst deal socially and economically. This is particularly true in the rural areas and urban ghettos of developing countries. However, the discrimination, exploitation, and abuse they often suffer are not always restricted to those poor communities.
There are a number of organisations and individuals in South Africa, including #Stayers, that are working to improve the plight of these girls in various ways. It seems to me though, that, after the basic necessities of life, education is the highest priority. I want to tell you about one such organisation and the woman behind it.
Fadzayi Chiwandire Moyo is a website, app and software developer. Born in Zimbabwe, she now lives in South Africa. I found her to be a bouncy, cheerful person, and she is very smart and passionate about developing girls. She started out as a graphic designer. Then, at 19, she was doing some work on websites and discovered an interest in developing them. This led to a career in coding.
SO, WHAT IS CODING?
This definition is to the point: “Coding or programming is the process of creating instructions for computers using programming languages. Computer code is used to program the websites, apps, and other technologies we interact with every day.”
“BUT,” I HEAR YOU SAY, “ISN’T THAT MOSTLY A MAN’S SPACE?”
Fadzayi says that, in her home, she never experienced any gender divisions in terms of what she could do. She did see it out in the world, though, and recounts two incidents when she was subjected to prejudice as a female. One was at school when the metalwork teacher displayed some disbelief about her choice of subject. The other was in a work meeting with another team that was collaborating with hers. She was the only woman present. The leader of the other team kept interrupting to explain things to her in layman’s terms. She laughs those off. But she is passionate about bridging the digital gender gap.
DIV:A – A SOLID FOUNDATION
Fadzayi founded the registered NPO, DIV:A, mainly to give young girls an opportunity to build more secure futures. This is especially true in the case of girls who cannot access tertiary educations. She wants them to have an alternative to marrying young because they are not able to further their education. She also aims to help bridge the gender gap in the tech industry by empowering girls to go out there and do it for themselves. Another aim is to help fill the need for more developers in South Africa. Besides coding, the girls are also taught to be confident – and bold in standing up for themselves and others.
FADZAYI’S WISDOM AND INSIGHT
“To raise the quality of life in our communities, we need to support the growth and empowerment of women and girls. This is because when we allow women to lead, they do not only lead and fight for their own growth, but they fight for their children and for their communities. They give voice to issues that are important for everyone’s collective future.”
WHAT WE CAN DO
To help grow confident, capable young women leaders, here is what we can do. Give of yourself, your love, wisdom, knowledge, as a trained volunteer mentor. Put your money where your mouth is; donate regularly to an organisation that works on empowering girls. Help support a girl child with necessities for school – uniform, shoes, school bag, stationery, a portion of school fees.
To donate to the #ImStayingFund,
please click here:
GOOD THOUGHTS • GOOD WORDS • GOOD DEEDS
I am a retired executive PA, library assistant and English teacher. I love words, so reading, writing, editing and word games are my favourite things to do. I run an editing business, working mostly on academic theses. It gives me so much satisfaction, knowing that I am giving back by making it possible for many a struggling student to have their work edited. When I was anticipating retirement, I felt I wanted to do volunteer work, so I am delighted to be working for #ImStaying.