Boosting the potential of young girls

Nomcebo's story

Nomcebo Mdluli is confident when advising her older sisters about their life problems, “I am the youngest of six siblings and the only one who has ever been a member of a Girls’ Empowerment Club (...). When one of my sisters has a problem, I can help her if I am familiar with a similar situation another girl in the club has experienced and managed to sort out.” Nomcebo is 18 finishing high school in Ezulwini town, in Northwest Swaziland. She’s preparing to go to the university to study business and is planning to become a Girls’ Empowerment Club mentor.


“What we got from the club is very special. I learned how to fight for myself whenever somebody is close to do something like abusing (…), not to sit idly until somebody asks, ‘what’s the problem?’ (…) and how to stand in front of others and talk.”


Violence against children, predominantly girls, is very high in Swaziland. Perpetrators are mostly male and most often known to the victim.


The Girls’ Empowerment Program introduces school girls and young women to the concept of gender equality, equipping them with tools for empowerment that will last a lifetime. The program provides girls with a safe space to talk about their experiences and supports them in reporting incidents when they suffer violence and abuse. They learn about their bodies, their potential and their rights. “The club taught us to tell them [boys] to leave us alone when they approach us [and] to tell them we do not want to do whatever they want us to do,” said the student.


Nomcebo’s confidence is visible when speaking in public and when encouraging other girls to be confident too. “To other girls I want to say: be yourself, be confident, have faith in yourself and whatever you want to do, do it.”

Nomcebo's story was first published in Crossroads' 2016-2017 annual report, Lives Changed. Read more stories of women and girls impacted by Crossroads' work here.

To celebrate the International Day of the Girl on October 11, we will share every day on social media words of empowerment from members of Girls' Empowerment Clubs. Stay tuned, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.




Crossroads International gratefully acknowledges the support of: