The DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme in South Africa is a response to the lack of education for young underprivileged girls in the country. Through mentoring and support, DreamGirls International looks to empower these girls to positively impact their personal circumstances and break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy in their communities.
LoA spoke to one of the DreamGirls South Africa co-founders, Lebogang George, this month to find out more….
What does your organisation do?
DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme in South Africa is a mentoring programme that was born as a response to the lack, or poor quality, of education that young underprivileged teen girls receive in Africa. DreamGirls South Africa aims to provide young teen girls with the necessary tools and access to educational information so they are eligible to study in any institution of higher education they wish to. We provide support and mentoring to assist the girls to plan for their future and ensure that they are empowered enough to not allow their current circumstances to limit their potential. One of our main objectives is to ensure that these young ladies are empowered and are able to break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy in their community.
DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme in South Africa focuses on encouraging young women to plan for the future, fulfill their potential, get a tertiary education and become independent, empowered and successful professionals or entrepreneurs, as well as catalysts for positive change in their communities. The DreamGirls programme therefore focuses on the areas of Life Design & Goal Setting, Education, Entrepreneurship & Careers, Leadership & Service, Women Wellness and Dignity.
"DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme South Africa is a mentoring programme that was born as a response to the lack, or poor quality, of education that young underprivileged teen girls receive in Africa."
What inspired you to start your organisation?
Every child has a right to quality education - education is a powerful tool for change and transformation. Education is a tool necessary to eradicate poverty and many of the social ills we face as a continent. A group of us came together and decided to start this organization as we believed that it was the answer to changing the poor education system in this country. We felt that the time had come for us to stop sitting on the sidelines and blaming government and certain individuals, but instead to be part of the solution and help government. We wanted to start contributing in a positive manner to the education sector. We are where we are today because we stood on the shoulders of giants, we received good quality education, and we have seen and experienced at first hand the impact it can make. We wanted to pay it forward and form a structured mentoring programme that we run like a company, to ensure that every year we work towards producing a generation of powerful future female leaders not just in South Africa, but Africa as well.
Why should anyone get involved with your organisation?
Through DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme South Africa, young business women will be able to: Postively impact a young girl's life and assist in her accessing information of higher education, admissions, programs and funding; Motivate young girls to reach their highest potential and break the poverty circle; Help us provide mentorship for all teen girls on the program so they can be the first in their family to study further; Provide opportunities for personal and professional growth and volunteer work in order to uplift our surrounding communities; Network with like-minded female professionals, entrepreneurs & leaders
"We felt that the time had come for us to stop sitting on the sidelines and blaming government and certain individuals, but instead to be part of the solution and help government. We wanted to start contributing in a positive manner to the education sector."
Tell us a little about your team
There are seven of us in the organization. We are the founding members and directors of DreamGirls South Africa. Each member has a great success story to share, and we are all dynamic and different. The team is made up of entrepreneurs and ladies who hold top senior and management positions in the corporate space. Team and Roles include:
- Anna Nhlapo- Marketing Manager
- Marise Mackay- Brand Manager & Chairlady
- Batho Mokiti- Program Coordinator
- Ezlyn Barends- Strategy and Funding
- Thandeka Nqgumeya- Funding
- Noelle Ngobeni- Sponsorship and Funding
- Lebogang George- Secretary and Legal & Compliance Manager
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I have been a social entrepreneur for close to 3 years now. I started a leadership development and consulting company a year ago, Red Leadership, which is a strategic partner in facilitating dialogues and designing experiential leadership programs that create a platform for collaborative intelligence in order to enhance organizational culture and performance. My passion for leadership and empowering young people has allowed me to be successful in my own entrepreneurial journey, as what I do is aimed at leaving a legacy and impacting lives. My mother is a successful entrepreneur with several businesses in Botswana, and watching her build these businesses and become the woman she is today inspired me to try to be nearly as remarkable as she is. Her entrepreneurial journey taught me that being an entrepreneur is not easy, nor is it glamorous, but with hard work and tenacity the tears and the sweat will be worth it - the journey is meant to make you stronger and wiser and not break you.
"We wanted to pay it forward and form a structured mentoring programme that we run like a company, to ensure that every year we work towards producing a generation of powerful future female leaders not just in South Africa, but Africa as well."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
In 2016, the programme aims to accept 80 teen girls and young women on the mentoring programme and reach an additional 200 girls in two additional cities through it’s outreach programme. Our medium to long-term strategy is to launch branches in other countries on the continent and abroad. Locally, we’re looking at expanding into Pretoria, Durban, Bloemfontein and Kimberley. We are also assessing expansion opportunities in Botswana, Kenya and Jordan.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Being a social entrepreneur and running a social enterprise means you are making an impact in people's lives, you are working hard to make a difference and address pertinent issues that the community and country faces. You are not merely living for yourself and collecting a salary every month, you are living for something bigger than yourself. What gives me the most satisfaction as an entrepreneur is that I make the rules, I break them if I need to, I test the most absurd ideas whenever I want to, I am allowed to be a crazy maverick whilst changing the way society and the country does things. An entrepreneur truly lives their life with so much purpose and vigor.
#EntrepreneurAdvice: "You do not need to break the bank to start a business."
- Lebogang George, co-founder @DreamGirlsSA
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?: Five things that make up the biggest piece of advice:
- You do not need to break the bank to start a business.
- Research your specific business interest.
- If you get a business partner(s) make sure you have the same values and vision, you need to be a support system and motivate each other especially when things get tough.
- Passion for whatever work you’ll be doing is key, passion will drive you and get you out of bed when you don’t feel like it, and you’ll get excited talking about and sharing your product with clients or potential investors.
- In terms of an NPO, treat it like a business in order for it to be sustainable and successful, think long term and keep in mind that you will need to run it in a way that ensures that it can pay you one day.
Contact or follow DreamGirls
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA, we love all those women social entrepreneurs who are working tirelessly to make a difference to the lives of other women and girls in Africa. The team at DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme in South Africa are doing just that. They are inspiring, motivating and helping to educate a new generation of young, empowered women in the country who can go on to fulfill their real potential, and become changemakers of the future. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa