Changing lives, one girl at a time

03 September 2019 | Youth

The Basketball Artists School (BAS) Foundation, with the support of The ONE TEAM organisation, hosted a girls’ empowerment day last Friday.

The day was second of its kind to be hosted at the BAS premises in Katutura. The programme targeted girls aged 12 to 16 years old. The day hosted 50 female participants, who took part in the fun and learning.

This initiative is run under the mentorship of the BAS senior females, who are youth aged 17 to 21. Focusing on everyday issues such teenage pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual predators and more, the girls’ empowerment day uses the experiences of the various mentors as testimonies on how to overcome these issues.

The main target is girls from the Katutura community.

As a way of teaching these participants that their environment is not a definition of who they will one day be, the mentors themselves live in these communities.

Sharing her story on gender-based violence was mentor Tiffany Khoeses, who shared that being able to speak about her overcoming this incident in her life, she has become a better person.

“Having gone through this battle as an individual, who was supported by friends and loved ones, has urged me to be that supportive person for these girls as well,” she said.

Another mentor sharing her story was Petrina Aron, who said she was happy to be able to have this platform to speak on her personal struggles with self-image and identity.

“I personally believe that the participants were so reactive, seeing that all the mentors are people who reside in their neighborhoods, thus making us more relatable,” she said.

One of the participants, Mirjam Erasmus, a grade 7 learner at People’s Primary School, said: “My friends and I had a fun time attending the first event and that is why we came back for the second one. We had fun, but we also learned a lot at the end of the day during the life skills topics.”

The event just like the first one, but also incorporated a set of team-building games to create a comfortable space for all the girls and ended off with a life skills session, during which various mentors each shared their testimonies.

As a thank you to each participant, the mentors gave the girls an item to take home to remember the event by, and sticking to the winter theme, each girl received a pair of socks.

The BAS Foundation is an afterschool programme which caters for education, life skills and basketball.

Run under the motto ‘Education First, Basketball Second’, the programme focuses on building children of the Katutura community into well-rounded individuals through sport. Find out more on Facebook or Instagram by searching Basketball Artists School.