Juliet Mhango, who is Cell C's chief human capital development and transformation officer, says that the initiative's effect on the lives of young girls in South Africa has been 'extraordinary'.

"It has had a profound and positive impact on their lives and has played a crucial role in shaping their future careers," Mhango says. "Now in its 17th year, the annual programme has produced some phenomenal women leaders and continues to inspire and empower young girls. Some of our past participants have gone on to pursue their dream careers and are currently successful leaders in their industries where they continue to excel."

This year's theme '#MoreThanADay' aimed to promote the concept that the one day is not enough to help motivate and inspire school-going girls. Cell C, therefore, dedicated three days in the year to this effort — Thursday, 30 May, Friday, 26 July and Friday, 30 August.

The third and last workshop, themed '#EmpowerYourself', strived to teach networking and research skills. Girl learners were taught where to find information and how to use their resources. Part of the day's activities included implementing and practicing skills taught, as well as ensuring that they take action and work hard to 'make their dreams a reality'.

"We continue to keep our doors of hope open to all girls, across the country. We want to continue to prepare and empower the next generation of women leaders who will help propel the country forward in the digital economy," adds Mhango.

Some of the Cell C 'Take a Girl Child to Work Day®' participants from previous years shared their memories and how they have progressed in their careers:

Elize Smit — chemistry lecturer at the University Of Johannesburg

Elize participated in the Cell C 'Take a Girl Child to Work Day®' programme when she was in Grade 12 in 2004. As part of the workshop, she visited Westcorp International (Namaqua Wines) in Vredendal. Part of the day included a tour of their analytical laboratory, which made the biggest impact on her life.

"This was my very first introduction to the world of science (that was outside a school classroom) and [it] sparked my interest in a career in science," Smit says.

In 2005, Smit began studying at the University of Pretoria and three years later, she completed a BSc degree in chemistry. In 2009, she received a BSc honours degree with distinction. In 2011, she completed her MSc degree. Smit then obtained her PhD in chemistry in 2015.

With a lifelong passion for education and learning, today Smit is a lecturer of chemistry at the University of Johannesburg and has presented research at national and international conferences.

Mpho Putini – Producer and Presenter for Radio Pulpit

In 2005, Putini took part in the Cell C 'Take a Girl Child to Work Day®' campaign when she was in Grade 12. She says that it was a day that influenced her career choice and introducing her to the world of media.

After completing matric, she pursued media studies at Boston Media House. Putini continues to 'make her mark', both on radio and television broadcasting, and she says that she has a promising career ahead of her.

Putini has presented various programmes on SABC including, Media Career Guide, Box Office, Water Diary and Clear Woza 24. "I am really grateful for the opportunity afforded to me by Cell C back then. It contributed to the direction I took in my career," she adds.

Refilwe Morapeli - Graduate Trainee at a leading insurance brokerage company

Morapeli participated in the Cell C 'Take a Girl Child to Work Day®' programme in 2012, where she visited Cell C and was introduced to a career path in the insurance industry. Morapeli studied at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) and attained a bachelor's degree in economics and insurance and risk management.

She further studied for a postgraduate honours degree and is presently studying towards a second honours degree in economics. Morapeli is a graduate trainee at a leading insurance brokerage company.

"My experience in the Cell C 'Take a Girl Child to Work Day®' campaign was really inspiring," Morapelisays. "I always had an interest in risk management and the world of numbers and analysis. I had an opportunity to visit a risk department and learn about it from a network company's point of view, and it opened my eyes to this potential career," she adds.

"This initiative was one of the best motivations for me to be confident in knowing what I want and how to pursue it," she says. Morapeli says that the Cell C 'Take a Girl Child to Work Day®' programme gives young girls a 'first-hand encounter of what they can expect in their dream career', regardless of their socio-economic background, and it helps them pursue it.

"I would definitely encourage girls to participate in this initiative because it is such a huge opportunity that not many young people in our nation would get," she adds.

Now in its 17th year, the Cell C 'Take a Girl Child to Work Day®' campaign has strived to become meaningful to schoolgirls across the country at a 'critical time', during which they decide which career path to follow. Previously, the initiative was aimed at girls between grade 10 and 12 but this year, Cell C has — for the first time — extended the programme to include girls in grade eight and nine.

The CellCgirl online platform can be used by both girls and boys and it gives free access to valuable information including:
  • guidance and advice on life
  • guidance on studies and careers
  • links to bursaries and internships
  • a link to a CV creator
  • free downloadable resources 
For more information, visit www.cellc.co.za. You can also follow Cell C on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram.