In a crime-riddled Johannesburg neighborhood, a young girl found security in words.
The words of her mother – a single parent working to support her family, a woman who has always been quick to offer encouragement and raise up leaders in her community.
From her mother’s example, Jaime’-Lee knew she wanted to be an advocate for other women struggling to succeed in the male-dominated society of South Africa.
As a These Numbers Have Faces scholar in her final year at University of Western Cape, Jaime’-Lee is on her way to doing just that – the first in her family to graduate from college, majoring in law with plans to become a human rights attorney.
In July, Jaime’-Lee and Busisiwe, a These Numbers Have Faces alumna, were able to share their stories with a group of outstanding female leaders at an event by Dermalogica, a women-owned, internationally acclaimed skin care company with business in South Africa.
Dermalogica’s mission goes far beyond physical beauty. Their foundation, FITE, Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship, is all about empowering girls through education as a means to fight poverty and strengthen communities.
FITE recently joined forces with These Numbers Have Faces to provide financial support and mentorship to several of our students in South Africa. They even raised $11,000 for These Numbers Haves Faces during the inaugural Kaya FM 67km Relay in honor of Nelson Mandela!
These Numbers Have Face and Dermalogica’s FITE are kindred-spirits. We believe girls in Africa are worth fighting for – for the education of those like Jaime’-Lee, for their limitless potential, which we believe will transform their communities.
And because, well, Beyoncé put it best: “Who run the world? Girls.”
During a recent interview with Dermalogica, Jaime’-Lee spoke about the importance of women’s empowerment in South Africa.
“When you’re successful, that energy should be projected. It should bounce off other people and then they are inspired, and they are happy, and they can reach their goals. That’s how we become one.”
Jaime’-Lee has the kind of energy we want to be around.
Join with These Numbers Have Faces to empower students like Jaime’-Lee.
Together, our support shows that we believe in them. We believe in the future of Africa.
In February, I had the pleasure of meeting Alice, an intelligent, persevering and extremely inspiring young woman. Alice exemplifies the passion and dedication of our students. We are thrilled to welcome her into our family.
We walked down the dusty, narrow, winding spaces between each shack. We passed clothing lying out on bushes to dry; dishes waiting to be washed in dirty water; and children staring wide-eyed at us. We followed closely behind Alice as she smiled and shouted greetings to her neighbors, who smiled and shouted right back.
Finally, we arrived at a one-room hut, the size of a typical bedroom in the United States.
"This is it. Please, come in. You are welcome here."
Alice ushered us into the home she shares with seven others, none of which are her parents. Brought together because of loss, these distant relatives make up their own, unique family unit. There was a makeshift clothesline attached to the walls that served as a closet, draping each family member's few outfits. There was hardly room to walk; the bed and piles of belongings took up most of the floor, but we squeezed in to explain why we had come to this Ugandan slum in the first place: to accept Alice as a These Numbers Have Faces scholar.
Alice is the sole provider for the seven other members of her family. However, even with these hardships, she's studying accounting at the best university in East Africa in the evenings and spends her days (eight hours each day, seven days each week) balancing the finances at a local bar to pay for rent, food, and her siblings' school fees. Without money for transportation, she spends over two hours walking from home, to university, to her job each day. And with a large family, she's the first to sacrifice her dinner when there isn't quite enough.
Alice's love and selflessness is overwhelming. In the short time we spent with her, we realized she personifies exactly what These Numbers Have Faces stands for, including the potential to be an inspiring leader in her family and community. As we told Alice and her auntie about These Numbers Have Faces - that 75% of Alice's tuition would be covered, that she would receive top-of-the-line professional development training, and that she was part of a community that believed in her, her auntie pulled each of us onto her lap, hugging us and laughing and shouting thanks.
Alice remained fairly quiet during our visit. But as we got ready to leave and started our goodbye hugs, she turned to us and said, "I will not let you down." And we won't let Alice down either. To give to Alice's tuition, transportation, or food stipend, please consider giving to These Numbers Have Faces today. You can give Alice and her family the boost they need to escape poverty.
After graduating just weeks ago, Busisiwe has landed her first job as a business intern! Representing the first cohort of These Numbers Have Faces graduates, Busi is setting the bar high and we couldn't be more proud.
Graduating with a degree in Accounting just weeks ago, Busisiwe was determined to find a job that would put her business skills to work and provide a valuable, real-world experience. After three interviews and a lot of hard work, we are thrilled to announce that Busi is now working as a business intern for Fetola, a social enterprise and development company located in Cape Town, South Africa.
Fetola exists to make a positive difference in South Africa by stimulating the growth of the small business sector. Seeing sustainable empowerment of people as their primary goal, Fetola helps larger companies and government organizations plan projects and intiatives that empower community-based projects and NGOs.
For the next 3-6 months, Busi will be working alongside the Project Manager to assist with projects and particpate in strategy sessions. Additionally, Busi will be writing proposals, doing research, performing business tasks associated with upcoming deadlines and preparing presentations for the board.
Recognizing what a incredible opportunity this is to begin her career, Busi is already strategizing how she can leverage this experience to reach her goal of starting her own consulting business to benefit female entrepreneurs. This is just the beginning for Busi, and we are confident about the incredible direction of her future!
"Thank you so much to everyone at These Numbers Have Faces, even all of those I have yet to meet I thank you a million times. Your support, love and belief in my abilities and the potential you see in me keeps me motivated to face another day with a positive attitude. I am both nervous and excited for my new job, but to know that I have people backing me up all the way makes it easier for me."
Check out this video to learn more about Busi's story! Stay tuned for more updates on Busi and the upcoming launch of her new business website. Busi's success wouldn't be possible without supporters like you. Thank you for providing a hopeful future for our students, so that they - like Busi - can achieve their goals.
Because of your support, These Numbers Have Faces has expanded our vision of investing in the next generation of African leaders to Uganda. Together, we’re impacting more students than ever before - providing Leadership Loans, Community Impact Programs, and more.
This fall, we supported a wonderful young woman named Doreen. Doreen is a phenomenal student now able to go to college due to your partnership with These Numbers Have Faces. Just a few weeks ago, we sponsored Doreen to become a member of the Africa Youth Leadership Forum. She participated in a multi-day leadership conference, and got to interact with the current leaders of Uganda - including President Yoweri K. Museveni!
This is the foundation of opportunity necessary to bring a whole new generation of young women into leadership positions across Africa. Thank you for believing in Doreen!
Every semester, hundreds of students participate in our Community Impact Programs. But a special group of students are asking some truly important questions: “What does it mean to be a woman in Uganda?” Too often it means hardship, adversity, or abuse. Even among university graduates, most study participants believe it is okay to beat your wife a “little bit.” Gender inequality still impacts many young Ugandan women. We’ve developed an outreach program to address issues of gender roles and relationships. The first event in the series had 120 participants! Students talked about pre-existing relationship ideas and are continuing the conversation about gender expectations. With your help, a young woman’s gender will no longer be an excuse for abuse or an impediment to leadership.
Now is the pivotal time to partner with the next generation of African leaders, transforming Africa from the inside out. We hope you’ll continue to partner with these students. Together, we are changing lives forever.
Visit thesenumbers.org and continue to support these strong African women.
With love,All of us at These Numbers Have Faces
In honor of Nelson Mandela’s legacy, we are proud to partner with Dermalogica’s FITE, Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship, investing in the potential of women.
Following the success of Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebrations in London’s Hyde Park in June 2008, it was decided that there could be nothing more fitting than to celebrate Mr. Mandela’s birthday each year with a day dedicated to his life’s work and that of his charitable organizations, and to ensure his legacy continues forever. Mandela Day is a call to action for individuals – for people everywhere – to take responsibility for changing the world into a better place, one small step at a time, just as Mr. Mandela did.
FITE will be supporting scholarships for three young women as part of the These Numbers Have Faces programs in Cape Town providing scholarships to the region’s brightest youth. The scholarship recipients all participate in a community impact program that includes volunteer community service, leadership and financial literacy trainings, and a commitment to give back a year of tuition to help a new student participate in the program. Thank you for partnering with us in empowering girls in Africa through higher education.
Alutho was so encouraged by being chosen for this campaign that she wrote an inspiring letter to These Numbers Have Faces. Read Alutho's Letter.
See Alutho tell her story on Vimeo.
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