Sharon Esau

My name is Sharon Esau. I am 17 years old and a Grade 12 learner at Dysselsdorp High School in Oudtshoorn. I grew up in a very impoverished community and it wasn’t always easy as unemployment, drugs, gangsterism and teenage pregnancy stares young people in the face on a daily basis. Most people in my community do not have any ambition and if you get to Grade 7 that would be considered an achievement. Our community lack positive rolemodels.

I always knew that I wanted more for my life and had  lofty goals and ideals as I wanted to break this generational cycle of lack of education and poverty that has been gripping my family and community. I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family but I was always well looked after and cared for by my single mother. This year I had the great privilege of attending one of Women Lead Movement’s camps- Rural Youth Female Mentoring- and it was a life-changing experience for me.

I am an introvert by nature and do not speak in group settings as I was always afraid of saying something silly and that people would laugh at me. But at this camp I was taught about leadership and self confidence and to speak my mind without the fear of being judged. What Women Lead Movement also taught me was that my life doesn’t have to end here but that I can achieve anything I set my mind on and that I can achieve great heights in my life. I would love to participate in another Women Lead Movement Camp but this time as a presenter or facilitator so that I can now inspire other young girls just like WLM did for me.

Thank you Melene and your colleagues for the great opportunity you have afforded me to learn more about Women’s Rights, Sexual/Health Education, Entrepreneurship and Gender Based Violence. Thank you for your constant support throughout the year too.After my exams, I will be heading off to the University of Potchefstroom to pursue my studies in Education. That will only be the start as I have ambition to become a future Minister of Education and who knows, perhaps even the President of South Africa.

Besides the fact that I was selected as the Head Girl for 2019, I also walked away with numerous awards at our Valedictory ceremony. One such award was  the overall top achiever at my school. #GirlsArePowerful