Across Africa, you hear about girls on the move. Usually, it is stories of girls being trafficked, fleeing war, escaping child marriage. Girls are rarely the storytellers.
Rock Girl is changing that.
We are taking girls on the road to meet their sisters across South Africa and from around the world. Trained as youth reporters and photographers by the Children’s Radio Foundation and Iliso Labantu Photography Cooperative, Rock Girls are interviewing their peers along the way, visiting innovative programs, and exploring their own country.
Rock Girls have shared their own stories of abuse, rape and neglect and and they have brought back stories of girls from across South Africa who face gang violence, rape, and lack of education. They have met girls in New Brighton who are too afraid to walk to school, girls in Helenvale who were raped on their way to school, girls in Smartsville who don’t even have a high school, so often drop out after grade 7.
They also swapped ideas on how to overcome these challenges, from taking self defense course to creating after school groups like Rock Girl to using social media to being human rights observers in their own communities.
And they were explorers in their own country. They have seen elephants, overcome fears, and swam in the Indian Ocean, but most importantly, they broadened the circle of sisterhood, creating opportunities for girls from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape to the Northern border to become Rock Girls and make their own communities safer for all.
These girls are brave, they are resilient, and they want their voices to be heard.
The situation for girls and women in South Africa is dire. We are facing an epidemic of violence against girls, women, children. And this epidemic is global.
Girls and women are considered the most vulnerable members of society, but they can also be the strongest. Girls can overcome horrific abuse, rape, neglect. We have met many women who have gone on to careers, leadership roles, success. We also know that sharing our stories is critical. Together, we can peel back the layers of shame, ignorance, and fear and let our country start to heal.
Everywhere we travel, girls as us how they can become a Rock Girl.
- Create a virtual support network using whats app to support and connect with girls we meet on the road.
- Establish a Rock Girl charter to guide girls as they start groups in their own communities.
- Create a Rock Girl Field Guide for Resilience to share with girls across South Africa and beyond.
- Mentor the next group of girls for our next Rock Girl On the Road trip.
- Meet with city, provincial and national leaders to share what we learned on our Road Trips and advocate for solutions, including better access to technology, connectivity, and education, safer streets and schools, and improved access to afterschool and weekend programmes.
- Build our infrastructure and support to bring 100 girls on road trips in the next two years.
- Host a Pan-African Road Trip and Summit in 2018.