Refining young diamonds of Promosa to be future leaders

A group of young girls whom Ilene has taken under her wing to support, advise and mentor. Photos: Selogile Leshage

The compassionate act of donating sanitary towels and toiletries to young girls in Promosa has blossomed into a mission to mould them into future leaders.

Ilene Abrams, a Promosa resident based in Johannesburg is making strides to ‘refine the young diamonds of Promosa’. She and a group of friends from Potchefstroom and Johannesburg donate a month’s supply of toiletries on a monthly basis to underprivileged learners in the two areas.

‘We do not only do it to give back to the community of Promosa but, ultimately, to make a difference in the lives of young girls in need of our support. It is very disheartening that many underprivileged girls are deprived of attending school during menstruation. We are, therefore, committed to our mission of keeping girls in school during, pre- and post-menstruation,’ she said.

‘For us, this initiative is not just about helping the girls with their monthly supply of essential toiletries. It is ultimately to support and mentor them to become the incredible women we believe they are destined to be. All we ask for in return is that they not only go to school and stay in school but that they work hard and excel.’

Ilene reminded the girls that the toiletries are not a handout and she regards them as her own little sisters.

Our backgrounds do not determine our future

‘Our backgrounds and current situations do not determine our future. We provide the basic comfort so that the girls can embrace their education with confidence and a conquering will,’ she said. The Good Samaritan says it has been a year since she and her friends embarked on this journey. ‘This has brought immense joy and gratitude to my life and the lives of my friends – a group of amazing ladies from Potchefstroom and Johannesburg,’ she says with a smile.

To complement this gesture, Ilene and her girls hold a mentoring session facilitated by influential women within the community every month. Liesl Laurie, the former Miss South Africa is one of the women who motivate the learners.

Last Saturday, Andrea Ludick – a final year law student from NWU Pukke addressed issues of manners, etiquette and personal hygiene. Ilene says these are ‘all critical issues that are, sadly, rapidly dying out in society – especially among the youth’.

Andrea Ludick from NWU spoke to the girls about hygiene, etiquette and manners.

We live in a society where complimenting people is not the norm anymore

The well-spoken Andrea took the girls on a three-hour marathon of a didactic, motivational, life-changing speech.
She advised them to always keep negative opinions to themselves and rather compliment their peers in the classroom. ‘Teasing others shows that you are weak. We live in a society where complimenting people is not the norm anymore. When a friend shows courage in a difficult situation, compliment her. This, in turn, cultivates bravery in her and boosts her confidence,’ she said.

In a world where the youth resorts to vulgarity to express themselves, this law student says the girls should always abstain from the use of foul language. ‘Rather search in the dictionary for words to fill in the gaps’.

A dead quiet room with no interruptions allowed Andrea’s voice of reason to resonate across to the young minds listening attentively.
She urged the learners to take up sports like netball and karate at school…because ‘sports teaches you the unwritten rule how to carry yourself as a lady. It teaches you discipline.’

Andrea also dealt in detail with good manners, etiquette, personal hygiene and communication – because how you articulate yourself is what opens doors for you.
In conclusion, she said: ‘we all love diamonds, but you should not only wear them – be diamonds.

‘Diamonds go through different processes of refinery.’ She explained how the beautiful, brilliant diamonds are transformed from dull stones. ‘Your carat determines your worth. We all come from somewhere but it doesn’t mean you will stay there,’ she concluded.

A Gr. 11 learner, Esmeralda Morgan from Promosa Secondary says this project assists them a lot.

‘It used to be a struggle when we did not have sanitary towels or soap to bath at times. Every single day, I want to thank God for Ilene and her good Samaritans for thinking about us.

‘They do not just donate toiletries to us, they also check whether we are okay. Today’s presentation was powerful. It taught us to be kind to our fellow human beings and consider their feelings. Even though I was brought up to be well-mannered, I have learnt even more about what it means to have good manners.’


Selogile Leshage

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