Raising young girls’ confidence to stand up for themselves

Doné Coetzer, a social worker at Childline Free State. PHOTO: Supplied

The IMPACT self-defense project hopes to empower young girls to become independent, assertive, and mindful. The project further hopes to promote perseverance in the face of adversity as well as to help them experience a sense of control over their immediate bodily environment.

According to a social worker at Childline Free State, Doné Coetzer, the project is launching in the time frame of 16 Days of Activism from 25 November – 10 December.

“The world can be a dangerous place for girls and women because of gender-based violence in South Africa, which has become an immense problem where women and children are exposed to physical and sexual violence as they are often perceived as easy targets,” said Coetzer.

“We feel excited that we can launch the IMPACT self-defense project tomorrow (1 December) at the Childline Free State offices. It has taken some preparation and planning to get to this point, so to be able to implement the project and have the opportunity to help young girls is very fulfilling,” said Coetzer.

She said the goals of the project are to mobilise the inherent talents of young girls and teach skills of personal safety practices such as setting physical boundaries and situational observation.

“We want to build their confidence so that they can stand up for themselves; and feel strong enough to act and speak out when they are in dangerous situations; and to teach them certain self-defense techniques that they can use to protect themselves when needed,” said Coetzer.

The aim is to see the project develop in a sustainable manner where it can be implemented for years to come, hence staff at Childline are taught skills as well to further present classes in the communities that need it most.

“We are appreciative of Witherow Trust who donated generously to the project to get the needed protective gear and help make this project a reality. Furthermore, we are glad to partner with Quentin Rourke (Sensei) from Shotokan Karate Academy and BSAFE, who has decided to dedicate his time and expertise to empower not only the young women/girls we hope to target but also empower the social workers with the skills to continue with the classes in future,” said Coetzer.

The girls (12-16 years) need to be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians to sign up for the project before or on 1 December 2022 where they will complete the needed forms.

Please get in touch with Doné Kruger (051 430 3311 or donec@cwcl.org.za) if you would like more information.

Bonolo Moloi