After a rigorous three tier selection process, ONE and SABC are excited to announce that Mrs. Mpho MacChambers is South Africa’s first ever Strong Girl!
Her role will be to advocate with ONE to the South African government on the urgency of robust and firm action to place investments in women and girls at the center of its fight against poverty.
During women’s month, ONE partnered with SABC to find the South Africa Strong Girl, defined as a woman who had made a significant impact in her community. Mpho was one of more than 3,000 nominated from across the country who took part in the competition. The judging process was challenging because each of the 24 semi-finalists shared about the amazing work being done in their communities which we were not aware of. This included programs from education and health to domestic violence reduction and economic development.
The Strong Girl competition is just one part of the Strong Girl Campaign which seeks to ensure that South African citizens are more aware of the importance of the critical issues in the June African Union (AU) Declaration that affect the progress of South African women and girls. The South African government has a unique opportunity now to implement the AU commitments to accomplish the goals of the Declaration as part of the implementation strategy for the Sustainable Development Goals which will be adopted at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York next week.
As the Strong Girl, Mpho will be joining ONE and SABC at events and activities on the margins of the next week’s UNGA meetings.
Mpho is passionate about uplifting women and girls with disabilities. She is inspired by her mother’s life-long work with youth who have special needs in education. Mpho founded the VIRYA Group of Companies in 2013 with the sole mission to enhance the quality of life of persons living with disabilities in South Africa. She is an example of what could happen when investments are made in women and girls.
She sites having the Department of Education accredit her courses as one of her career highlights. Through this process, her company now has effective systems that comply with South Africa education regulations. Through SheCan!, a project of the VIRYA Foundation, Mpho provides accredited skills training to women and girls with disabilities, creates and helps to secure employment for them and offers training in inclusive practices to their employers to ensure that all women with disabilities are well-supported and successfully integrated into the workplace.
Mpho, born in Polokwane, Limpopo, learnt the importance of education and fighting for human rights at an early age from her parents. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a lawyer.
Winning the Strong Girl competition makes Mpho believe that she can do more. She is excited to be part of a community of world-changers. As she heads to New York for the UN meetings she wants world leaders to remember that women and girls, especially those living with disabilities, are facing seemingly unsurmountable challenges and need much more attention from policy makers.
Thank you, South Africa, for making time to nominate your strong girl during the campaign!