The fact that Didintle Moatshe is a teenager doesn’t stop her from working hard to make a change in her community. Together with her partner Kgotso Makgalema, Didintle is trying to save girls in their communities. Both Didintle and Kgotso do this through several projects, including one that provides free sanitary pads to girls so that they remain in school.
Supported by the local church, schools and other stakeholders, Didintle shows that it’s never too early to start campaigning for positive change. Her bravery extends to openly sharing her experience with rape. Didintle does this in order to heal and to give hope to other girls who are rape survivors.
You’re 16 years old, why have you decided to start these projects as a teenager?
I decided to start an organization as teenager because I felt that the government was not doing enough. Most of the time, it is like they do not care. We have been waiting for a lot of things that the government promised to offer but has still not provided.
I started this project to fill the gap that has been left alone. The sanitary pads initiative is the project I first started with. Its aim is to help girls who can not afford sanitary pads. I have witnessed it happen, girls who bunk class because of ruined skirts and girls who miss a week of school because her period has started.
I started this as a teenager because I felt the government promotes safe sex —which is a choice, more than hygiene of girls.
Tell us about Barrier Breakers.
Barrier Breakers is the main organization we started. It includes everything —not only sanitary pads— it aims to provide the needs of our communities. We do not want to revolve around one issue, we deal with all of them. In addition, we are breaking barriers of poverty and inequality in our communities.
We are building bridges to help others cross, to get to the other side where grass is green and everything is bright. We give hope to those who have lost hope in everything and seek intervention in their lives. Our slogan is, “Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges”.
What has motivated you to start this project?How did you start implementing it?
The motive behind this project is the situations I have been through. I learnt that in the world we all do not have equal chances and we need each other. Ubuntu principles are also behind the project. We all need to practice them and this is me practising Ubuntu.
Whatever background I come from does not give me the right to fold my arms and watch women who are supposed to lead in the future suffer. I started this project small where I asked the congregation and the youth of my church to help me gather sanitary pads and toiletries. This was a success and we donated what we raised to Kgomotso Children Centre in Soshanguve. So it all started in church.
How do you plan to effectively provide for individuals in need in your communities
I plan to get help from companies who are willing to help, as well as from many other individuals who support such initiatives in their communities. Our plan of action is to distribute in schools. This will leave us with a certain percentage who do not attend schools. Some are at safety homes and others in their private homes but we are also going to reach out to them.
We plan to donate two packets of pads to individuals in schools and leave extra packets at schools for when they run out. We target five schools every Friday where we freely distribute the sanitary pads.
Tell us about the meaning behind #SaveOurGirls?
#SaveOurGirls was a name proposed by my partner working with me in this project, Kgotso Makgalema. We decide to go with the name #SaveOurGirls because we believe that we are saving girls from the pit of poverty.
Our roles in this situation is for us to throw in the rope to help them up to reach their destiny. Save Our Girls is another way of saying let’s keep girls in school, save them from the hungry lions waiting to devour them by taking advantage of their circumstances.
We want to build a country where women know their worth. We are restoring the dignity and pride of girls. #SaveOurGirls is a cry to the public to help girls who are in need.
You are very open about being a rape survivor, can you share why?
Many say I am still young to talk so openly about my rape story. What I believe is that in order to heal, I have to talk about it. I have to be free from the chains of rape. I thought to myself, why should I sit and cry while I have Christ? Still, it was not easy.
I had to step out of depression, I had to divorce all the suicidal thoughts and find ways to feel good. I might not know who my rapist is but I know that God will never leave the wicked unpunished. Sharing my story can give life to someone who has lost hope.
Surviving rape is never easy but I turned back and went back to my first love who is Jesus. My message is, whatever you go through now and just remember God will never put in a situation knowing there is no escape. Praise him in your darkest moments and let his feet dance to your tune. God’s timing is always right.
Do you see yourself continuing your projects as you grow older? Tell us what you see in your future.
I see myself in the future being a psychologist, motivational speaker and counsellor —all these things are related to my project.
Yes, I see myself continuing with this project in the future not only in South Africa but globally. I see myself achieving a lot in terms of seeing poverty rates decreasing, equality everywhere, and seeing girls achieving their goals and living their dreams.
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